This morning I stood at the kitchen window watching a magpie for 10 minutes along with all the other birds in the garden it was obviously nest building. For a couple of minutes the magpie hopped around picking up twigs beneath the beech hedge and discarding them as unsuitable. Not being a bird I don’t know why they weren’t fit for purpose, maybe too long, or too short, or too straight, or too many kinks, too thick, too thin, who knows. Anyway the magpie then abandoned reviewing the twigs on the ground and flitted into the beech hedge itself, there the bird spent another couple of minutes tugging at a variety of twigs all firmly attached. Then suddenly the right one was found.
The magpie pulled and flapped it’s wings.
Hung upside down on the twig.
Disappeared into the hedge with the twig still in it’s beak.
Reappeared and did some more flapping.
Moved onto a neighbouring twig and pulled and pulled the hedge shaking and sending the smaller birds fleeing – they probably thought the squirrel or cat was in the hedge again!
Again it returned to the upside down method until eventually it flew clear of the hedge with the twig still in it’s beak now no longer attached to the rest of the hedge.
I smiled to myself as the magpie then dropped the twig and looked at it with that quizzical stare birds have, head tilted on one side. It was picked up and dropped several times, tossed into the air a couple of times. Maybe it is a young bird that isn’t nest building at all I thought, maybe it is just following natures call and practicing for next year and for now the newly harvested twig will just be a toy. For the breifest of moments the twig was back it the magpies beak again before being dropped with purpose, a couple of hops brought the magpie back to the twigs which had previously been rejected under the hedge and with swift decision one was picked up and off the magpie flew twig in beak.
As I continued to stare out the window thinking what strange behaviour another thought suddenly came to me. That behaviour was no stranger than how we carry on at times.
God leaves things for us within easy reach, we look at them and discard them sometimes for no apparent reasons, sometimes for reasons which are all together unfathomable, sometimes because we think they aren’t quiet right and we could do better ourselves. We then put a lot of time and effort into trying to do it ourselves before finally realising that what we have achieved by our own merits is not as good as what God has already provided for us.
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?
Maybe this Lent we should spend a bit more time looking for those things God has already provided and a little less in trying to do it all ourselves. For we are precious in God’s sight and are provided with all that we need.