A robin's nest was low in a tree right on the edge of the driveway. I saw the adult first warming the eggs and then gathering food for the hatched chicks. Soon, three young robins were sitting on the edge of the nest. They weren't able to fly when they left the nest, and I saw one adolescent chick racing along in the undergrowth, it's mother flitting along and calling to it. Just a few days later, I saw the fledgling robins with their unique color pattern for camouflage flying around the yard.
I learned some lessons from that robin family.
First, provide enough room for your family. Make sure there is structural strength to hold all occupants as well. If room in the nest only allowed for a bird and eggs, the growing chicks would soon have no space to flutter their wings. They might bump one another out of the nest before they were ready. The robin and three growing babies made quite a crowd in the nest, but it held them all.
Second, share food with others. The robins flew about the yard gathering food, adding to the load in their beaks. I wondered how they didn't drop what they already had when they opened their beaks to peck in the grass for more. When it seemed they couldn't possibly add another bug or worm to their stuffed beak, they flew off to feed their hatchlings.
Finally, stay with the young until they can survive on their own. The mother robin showed her young how to get food and stay out of danger. It is comical to see the new generation of birds continue to beg from their mothers for food even though they are both about the same size. The adult patiently gives food to the young and lets them eat. Soon they will be on their own and able to fend for themselves because of the example they have seen.
While hiking we saw a bird that appeared to be injured. It walked on the ground with a wing hanging down. We then noticed three little birds crowded together in the grass. These were her chicks, and she was trying to divert us away from them with her fake injury. The chicks huddled together were quickly reunited with the hen as we walked on. The hen was willing to endanger herself for her little brood.
Jesus wanted to gather people to him "as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings." His protection and comfort are available to us.
Jesus said that the heavenly Father notices even sparrows. "Fear not" he said for you are worth more to him than sparrows. He encouraged faith and confidence in his promises when he said to consider the ravens. How much more valuable are you than the fowls?
Mitch Glover is pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church located on Swanson River Road at Entrada. Services on Sunday include Bible classes for all ages at 10 a.m. followed by worship at 11. Thursday Bible study and children's church are at 7 p.m.
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