Consider the Sparrow

Have you ever seen birds fight over food in the feeders? I have 4 birdfeeders up outside my dining room window, which is now my study space. The birds distract me regularly. Sometimes I swear they had personalities. There definitely seems to be a hierarchy among the species and I’m learning the differences between how they act.

For instance, Cardinals always seem to feed in pairs. Not usually on the feeder together; but generally the male is very close by keeping watch while his bride feeds or visa versa. If he’s not right there… just look closely around.. you’ll invariably find him. They stick close together. It’s quite beautiful to watch their loving care of one another.

They like to feed at dawn and dusk when the others are still in bed or already hunkered down for the night. Different kinds of finches (gold, house and purple) and pine siskins will eat together, but bicker the entire time. White breasted nuthatches come to the suet when all others are gone.. they like to feed alone. Sparrows feed in hoards. I call these “feeding frenzies”. Sometimes we’ll have 8 sparrows on a single square of suet. The chickadees and red breasted nuthatches are the most friendly, curious and least nervous of human interaction. Bluejays are gorgeous, but raucous, scaring everyone else away on their circuitous route to the feeder. Mourning Doves are actually the worst bullies to all others at the feeders. One thing they all have in common, just like us humans? They all quarrel, they fight (even the cardinals) – for what they think is theirs alone.

You’d think they’d sing to each other.. “there’s food for all! come! Come! I found food, let’s share!!” But no, they take what they like, peck others away, and discard the food they don’t like to the ground. Horrible stewards. we could learn from their poor example.

1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 

2 Corinthians 13:11 says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

I was chatting with someone the other day who made me laugh out loud when we were chatting about our birds. She actually disciplines her birds. I don’t think she’s going to teach them anything, but if they get too quarrelsome, she takes the food away. “If you’re going to fight over it, you can’t have any!” she says to them. 🙂 🙂

This morning I was reading in my devotional (Knowing God’s Heart by First 15) and read the following:

God’s heart is for unity. His heart is that we would embrace one another, seek to comfort and restore one another, and thereby encounter his love and peace. Unity isn’t an option in Scripture; it’s a command. It’s not an option to allow strife and slander. It’s not an option to leave broken relationships unmended. Seek restoration today. Allow God to fill you with the courage to show love and unmerited grace to fellow believers. And as you grow in unity with others you will experience a deeper understanding of God’s unconditional love and affection for you. May today be marked by a powerful revelation of God’s heart through others.

Again, as it’s worth repeating….. 2 Cor 13:11 says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

In my studies in Biblical Care and Counseling, the topic of Unity keeps coming up daily in my readings. Jesus prayed in John 17 for our unity. Each time we take communion in church, we’re to examine our hearts and see if there’s broken relationships we need to mend first before taking part. We’re not supposed to ever give up on each other or stop forgiving one another, serving one another, loving one another. The commands are there continually throughout scripture. Yet .. we do. We come up with selfish reasons why not to forgive, or work at restoration. To walk away.

If we are constantly quarreling, don’t love or forgive, John Stott in his book Basic Christianity says “Conflicts could be resolved if both sides first examined themselves critically and then examined the other side charitably, instead of which we are always charitable to ourselves and critical of others. We exaggerate our own virtue and the other man’s vice. If only the spirit of self-assertion could be replaced by the spirit of self-sacrifice, our conflicts would cease. And self-sacrifice IS what the Bible means by “love”. While sin is possessive, love is expansive.” Wow.. i was kicked in the butt by that!

So while we consider the sparrow, the nuthatch, cardinal or jay… and know they don’t worry about tomorrow, let’s also not be like them, and stop quarreling, let’s serve, love, protect and work with one another, as John 13:35 says.. so they will know we are His disciples by our love.

Published by billandamyskitchen

Bill (Guillermo 'cause he likes pretending he knows Spanish) and I (Amy) have been married since Sept 2005. We live in Southern Ontario, Canada - Niagara Peninsula in fact, smack dab between 2 of the Great Lakes. We love God, our family, our church family, and making each other laugh. (ergo the profile pic, he decided to make our photographer laugh by throwing a leg up on me just before the shutter clicked, which made ME laugh) When we married, I told Bill: "I don't know how to cook" but he had faith in me. So 15 years later, I'm still learning, and having fun. I've never (in my whole life) cooked a whole bird, chicken, turkey or otherwise. I've never roasted a beef, other than in a crockpot on low for 8 hrs. I like trying to find healthy & easy recipes and then I rarely follow them. I don't enjoy recipes that take hours or intricate steps. I have a special fondness for the Podleski sisters, writers/creators of the Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates and Yum/Yummer cookbooks. In 2018 we suddenly decided to rip our small house apart from stem to stern, moving out for 4.5 months while the house was demolished inside and out, and then rebuilt with an addition. If you go back in the archives to July-Dec 2018 you can follow that story. It's made our house open and so much more conducive to entertaining, small groups and large. It's given us the kitchen I've dreamed of to create and learn in. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to write about our journey, our faith in God and some fun recipes along the way. Thanks for joining us.

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  1. Those are very powerful yet humbling words: examine ourselves critically and others charitably. I agree, a good kick in the butt. I think I do this sometimes, but now always for sure. Easy to blame others for conflict.


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