“We can do nothing sufficient to warrant our Father’s generosity and affection. But we can thank him.”
Since I am privileged to be living on an Aussie “bush-block,” my early mornings include stepping out the back door bearing sunflower seeds, bread crusts and assorted food scraps: breakfast for The Boys: Caractacus, Horace, Barry, Larry and Colin. Others might recognize them as Kookaburra, Megapode Brush Turkey, Butcher Bird, Lorikeet and Currawong, respectively. But to me, they have become The Boys.
I’m usually on time. If not, well — let’s just say The Boys find an audible way to remind me that they’re waiting!
It’s a funny arrangement, really. I truly savour the interplay — look forward to satisfying their insatiable appetites. Early mornings are magic in the bush — so alive and busy.
|Barry the Butcher Bird|
|Horace the Brush Turkey|
|Colin the Currawong|
|Larry the Rainbow Rainbow Lorikeet|
|Caractacus the Kookooburra|
The Boys? I love them to pieces.
Is the feeling mutual? Nice to think so, but one can’t really know.
Are they at least a bit grateful? They haven’t said so. They’re wild birds; they can’t talk.
I chat while feeding them: an authentic bird-man. But it’s all one-way.
I give, give, give.
They take, take, take.
Enthusiastically, for sure. That’s what’s so delightful. They relish what I do for them. But do they even like me? Just a little?
I sometimes tell them they don’t deserve me, nor do they do anything useful enough to warrant my generosity and affection. When the goodies are gone, so are they. And not a word of appreciation from any of them.
Will I stop feeding them because they can’t thank me?
Hardly! I love them way too much.
If you’ve ever had a wild animal or bird allow you to approach them or eat out of your hand, or even seek you out to play (like dolphins), you know the thrilling sensation of momentary communion across that gulf. And you know why I have to keep feeding The Boys.
Welcome to the world of God
Jesus said (Matthew 6:26) that The Boys “do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” That’s the way of creation.
I feed them too. Their Father’s using me to feed them each morning. It’s him they need to be thanking, not me.
Jesus said one other thing in that verse: “Are you not much more valuable than they?” We can do nothing sufficient to warrant our Father’s generosity and affection. And too often we come to him with “Gimme, Gimme” prayers and pay little attention to him until the next want arises.
Will he stop providing? Will he withdraw his generosity because we can’t thank him?
Ah, but we can thank him.
Across all the variety of creation, just one of God’s creatures is endowed with capacity to experience and express in conscious language their gratitude, affection, adoration, worship and love to the Father. Only humankind can choose to approach him in prayer and fully savour communion with him across that gulf.
Will he withdraw his generosity because we don’t thank him? Hardly! He loves us way too much.
But still, we can thank him.
Powerful lesson, isn’t it? That’s perhaps why Jesus told us to consider The Boys — “for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” God loves us even when we don’t thank him.
Kerry Gubb is an Accredited Training Practitioner and certified Human Resources Professional with the Australian Institute of Training and Development and serves on the board of the Vocational Education and Training Industry Group (Australia).
Author: Kerry Gubb