“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
Matthew 6:26-30 ESV
Through the Bible: Matthew 5-7
If you come to this blog for deep, theological insights, then this may not be a good day for you. But there’s something happening in my own backyard right now that is teaching me about God’s provision and my responsibility for His good creation.
We have a small flowerbed in our backyard. I should tell you that I am nobody’s definition of a master gardener. Most of my gardening involves pulling weeds, after checking with my wife to make sure what I am pulling actually is a weed.
I had lots of experience pulling weeds, thanks to the dumb idea I had to put a bird feeder on a stand in the middle of the garden. It turns out birds are messy eaters. They seem to drop as much birdseed as they eat. And when the seed falls to the ground, it sprouts. I’m not sure why this caught me by surprise, but as I said, I’m not much of a gardener.
Sprouts from fallen birdseed had overtaken my pitiful flowerbed, and I determined to pull all the weeds, then move the bird feeder so I wouldn’t have this problem again.
But as I was pulling the weeds several weeks ago, I noticed among the weeds one sunflower. My first thought was, “Huh. How did that get there?” Then I realized that, among the variety of seeds in the bargain bag of birdseed I put in the bird feeder, there were some sunflower seeds.
That’s when inspiration struck. Rather than move the bird feeder, fill it up with only sunflower seeds! That way the birds can eat, and I can have flowers in my garden that I actually want to have. And if I just move the bird feeder to a new spot every time I fill it, I will have a bed full of beautiful sunflowers, and I wouldn’t have to do a thing. It would be the most low maintenance flowerbed ever. As an added benefit, I’ll have a bunch of fat, contented birds hanging around.
We are beginning to see the results now. I have no idea if they are going to bloom before it gets too cold—makes me wish I had my flash of inspiration earlier in the season—but they are getting close. And I love coming out to my flowerbed at various times in the day and seeing how the heads of the sunflowers turn to follow the sun as it moves across the sky. I had heard that they did that, but I had never actually seen it.
When Jesus taught about trusting in Him, he told His disciples to consider the birds and flowers. He wanted them to understand that if God could provide for the birds of the air, He can provide for them. For me, there is the added bonus of realizing that God can use me as part of His plan for providing for the birds of the air. I have a part to play in God’s plan!
I’m learning from my accidental sunflowers that, just as they do nothing on their own to be arrayed with such beauty, that God is able to take care of me also. The one thing they do is make sure their faces are always turned to the sun. Which is what I need to do also. Keep my face turned toward the Son.
Father, today, help me to follow the Son. Help me to trust You to plant me where you want me to be. And thank you for allowing me to come alongside you as a steward of Your good creation. Thank you for the birds of the air. Thank you for the flowers of the field.
Edit: here’s a picture I took a few weeks after I posted this last year.