PASTOR BLAINE'S WEEKLY COLMN

“Thinking Out Loud” by Rev. Blaine R. Wenger

“Trapped In Strange Places And Ways”

The other day, I was walking to church, and something unexpected gave me a little start.  We have a bird feeder that hangs in one of the trees so we can see it from the front windows.  I pass by it every time I walk to and from the church.  Sometimes it is teeming with birds, and squirrels.  Sometimes it is pretty quiet.  This time, I was walking by and didn’t notice any birds on it.  But then, there was a strange scrapping, fluttering sound. I looked around and didn’t see anything. Then I realized that the sound was coming from inside the bird feeder.  I looked closer.  A small bird had gotten trapped inside the bird feeder. I imagine in wiggled through one of the openings the feed was to fall down through, chasing another morsel. Then, once inside, couldn’t figure out how to get back out.  And was obviously in distress.

I laid my things down and lifted the feeder to the ground.  I carefully lifted the top off the feeder, like you would to fill it, so the bird could get out. I watched.  The bird was still stuck. It couldn’t spread its wings enough to launch and didn’t seem to have the means to climb or jump.  It was still stuck.  So, I carefully laid the feeder on its side.  Now the bird could take a few steps and be free.  It did, and off it flew.  I don’t know how much “higher thought” a small little sparrow engages in, but if it could, I’ll bet he had quite a story for his sparrow friends.  “You are NEVER going to imagine what happened to me today …”  Maybe the little sparrow’s spouse would have had some snappy retort, “You and your snacks!” 

Thinking about that little sparrow, or wren, or whatever it was made me think.  How many people get so wrapped up in seemingly small things, even sort of essential things, that they effectively get trapped?   Has that ever happened to you?  You get so caught up in something, or so obsessed with something, that you come to realize that it is keeping you from other things that you would like to do, or need to do?  Even good things, necessary things, can be taken to extremes that are not healthy, if we don’t pay attention.  Obviously, this image left an impression on me.  Is this its own separate experience?  Or is this a picture of one of the ways that something can become an idol to us?  We pursue something, so focused on it alone, so consumed, that before we know it, it has us trapped, cut off?  And almost anything can be the means by which we are trapped, even seemingly good or necessary things. 

I don’t want to suggest that we live constantly concerned, or worried about what might happen, fearful about everything.  Neither should we live obliviously or carelessly. We have a good, good God who made us, who loves us, and in the words of Jesus desires us to have “abundant life.”  We have a God who created us in His image, and a Savior who’s promises are sure and true. We have so much that is going for us. Enjoy your surroundings.  Savor the good things that are part of your life.  But if we are to get lost in something, consumed by something, don’t settle for anything less than God Himself. 

Have a blessed day.

Grace, Mercy, and Peace,

Pastor Blaine