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Seeds of the Kingdom

A Lesson from the Birds

by Tanya Person

22 October 2023

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3-4, NIV

One day I was at an aviary where you can feed birds. I was given a cup of food and, as I held it up, a small bird flew down and landed on the side of the cup and started eating. It was amazing how fearless it was! Then another bird came and landed on the side of the cup beside the first bird.

The first bird had food in its mouth and turned to the other bird. I expected it to chase the second bird away, but instead it gave the second bird the food it had just picked from the cup. It then picked out another piece of food and gave it to the second bird. It did this about three times, and then the second bird flew away.

I asked the attendant about this behaviour. She said these types of birds are very communal and they will take care of each other. I was expecting this bird to act like other types of birds I have seen. They will chase another bird away from the food they have. But, instead, this bird shared what it had with another bird. It was such a picture of generosity!

I have a picture of these two birds on my phone and, every time I see it, I think about how God created us to be communal like these birds. In our scripture for today, we are told to not look only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. But how often do we selfishly want to keep what we have for ourselves?

Maybe we feel we have worked hard to earn what we have, or we see it as God’s blessing for us. We want to keep it for us rather than share it. Let’s be encouraged by the illustration of these birds. Let’s be generous to those around us and learn to live in community, as the Lord wants us to. There is great blessing in store as we do.

Tanya Person Tanya and her husband, Jim, were missionaries to Hungary for over 18 years. They have worked with Ellel since 2005. After serving in various positions with Ellel in Central and Eastern Europe, God led them back to the United States, where they are now serving with the Ellel USA team. They have a passion to see leaders restored, the church discipled and walking in God’s fullness of life and freedom, and for mentoring the existing and developing team. Tanya also enjoys crocheting and knitting in her free time and has written some children’s picture books.


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