A Shorebird and God

A Shorebird and God

Last time, I was finishing point #4 from my talk, "The Four Keys to a Successful Freshman Year." Let me wrap up Key #4, which is: Live Full Out for God.

Live Full Out for God

To give context, I ended last time with an important question:

You ask, "Dan, why would I want to live full out for God?" My answer is simple: "you will never want to live full out for God ... until you become convinced that God is full out for you."

Is God really "full out" for me? In two places, the Gospel of Matthew gives us a strong answer:

The Birds of the Air
"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"  – Matthew 6:26
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows."  – Matthew 10:29-31

The Message version puts it this way:

"What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries."  – Matthew 10:29-31, from The Message

Haha, Eugene Peterson (author of The Message) sure had a way with words. A Million Canaries! I think Peterson gets to the heart of Jesus' meaning: we are incredibly valuable in God's eyes.

A Million Canaries!

These two passages from Matthew, if pondered, should be compelling evidence that God is "full out" for us. What value He sees in us! And, it is despite our sinfulness. Stunning. Now, let me tell you a true story that may shed additional light on how loved we really are ...

Whimbrel: By Félix Uribe, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81340398

A Shorebird Named Chinquapin

In August, 2011, Hurricane Irene was pummeling the eastern coast of the US down to South America. During this event, a shorebird (a whimbrel) named Chinquapin began it's migration from Southampton Island, Canada (Arctic Circle) down to its intended destination, Brazil.

Chinquapin had been tagged with a tiny radio transmitter, allowing scientists to track the migratory behavior of these birds.Whimbrels (like Chinquapin) are known to travel up to 3,500 miles without a rest. By the time Chinquapin reached the outer bands of Hurricane Irene, he'd already been flying for four days.

However, no one told Chinquapin that there would be a major hurricane in his path! He disappeared from sensors. He was "off radar." Scientists were gripped with trepidation: what will happen to poor Chinquapin in Irene's 110 mph winds?

Three days later, scientists picked up his signal on Eleuthera Island. It turns out that Chinquapin miraculously adjusted his flight path to turn toward the Bahamas. Scientists still don't know how Chinquapin managed to stay airborne and not be tossed off-course or killed. In the middle of the Atlantic, enveloped in a hurricane, how did this 18 inch bird know how to find land?

I think if Jesus were here, listening to Chinquapin's story, he'd say to us:

"Look at the Chinquapins of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns, yet My Father feeds them. They even sometimes fly into hurricanes out over the ocean, but we've figured out how to help them. And you, are you not worth much more than a million whimbrels, like Chinquapin?"

If God can take Chinquapin through Hurricane Irene, he can take you and me through the hurricanes in our lives. Those who belong to Jesus are worth much more than Chinquapin ... than many sparrows ... than a million canaries! Is God "full out" for His true children? Yes, He is!

Whimbrel: By JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86319610

"You will never live full out for God, until you become convinced that God is full out for you." Nowhere is this more obvious than at the Cross of Jesus, where God proved just how "full out" He is for you and me.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all – how will He not, together with Him, freely give us all things?"  Romans 8:32