“What could an angel want from a man?” A child in a TV show asked in bemusement.
My knee jerk answer was: Nothing.
But – that's wrong. Angels aren’t God. God needs nothing. The Bible tells us angels want something that men have:
“…When they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”
-- 1 Peter 1:12
The mysteries of the gospel.
As sons and daughters of God, we get to study and understand (however incompletely) salvation. What is more, we are invited to experience it -- the mending of our relationship with God. Angels watch in awe, desiring a peak into God’s great design to restore of our relationship with Him. That is what some men have that they want. Angels desire to look into the profound mystery of Jesus, God in the flesh, motivated by a Creator's love, come to rescue mankind.
What a treasure we carry in clay vessels!
“…we have this treasure in jars of clay…” 2 Corinthians 4:7
An oasis in the desert our backyard is not, but it does have two apple trees. Apple trees that get inundated by birds and ants and worms (and yes, half a worm in your apple is far worse). So we wrapped the trunks in sticky tape (for the ants) and wrapped the tree in fine netting (for the birds). Our apple season is over so I removed the netting from ONE of our fruit trees this morning. I don’t really want to admit how long it took me (or how many leaves the poor tree lost), but it did let me think…for a while.
From the kitchen window the netting is hardly visible (which is kind of a bummer because you can’t really tell I did anything by removing it). It isn’t until you get closer that you can see that the new growth has threaded itself through the fine mesh that envelopes the tree. So, the bottom was easy but the top was terrible -- I had to cut it off around each individual shoot (or just pull off all the leaves that had grown on top of the net). It was a painful process. And interestingly, the net that was hardly visible in a single layer became a huge tangled, black ball as I pulled and rolled it off our little tree.
That netting is like sin. It seems like a good idea… at first. It’s just a small thing…at the beginning. No can really even see it… except God. You hear Him saying, “Child, stop that. It is not okay.” But you press on, justifying yourself, and growing the best you can – but that pet sin is pinning you down. And you keep going. No one else can even tell there is anything wrong until they get close and realize – like our tree struggling to do what God created it to do underneath our net – you have a problem. A problem that, sooner or later, you have to deal with.
But getting that sin out of your life is like getting that net off. It is a rough, drawn out process. That sin has grown into who you are. And removing it hurts. You need help, and even then leaves get torn and ripped off. Sometimes you even lose a branch. If only someone had told you it would get this bad, that it would be this painful to get free of it… Oh, yeah, Someone did. The same Someone Who is now patiently removing the net – He told you not to mess with it in the first place. Oh, yeah.
But as Jeremiah said, those who have survived the sword have found grace. “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” – Jeremiah 31:3
If you have ever watched hummingbirds, you know. They have manic energy. They charge around from one perch to another trying to get the best nectar. And they fight for it. They squabble almost constantly trying to get to our feeder. Never mind that there six…I repeat…six holes, I often see one frantic hummingbird fighting to be the only one at the feeder.
But this morning as I ate breakfast, I noticed a calm hummingbird. All the others buzzed and fought around him. But he didn’t take his beak out of the feeder. One zoomed this way and one darted the other. But he didn’t move. Occasionally, another bird would join him at the feeder but he didn’t mind. He just kept drinking. Calmly.
I want to be the calm hummingbird. Everyone around me is all riled up about…everything. The news and the elections (next year). “It’s chaos.” Their actions scream as they dart around from disaster to disaster: Our pastor just left (or might leave), "Mary" is sick (or might be), and our roof is leaking (but only when it rains). And some of those things are important, but what does anxious activity achieve? Exactly what the flighty hummingbirds get.
That calm hummingbird drank glorious sugar water for ninety seconds straight while the little cloud of hummingbirds around him – some of them – got a sip or two in the meantime. There is a reason God said, be still and know I am God. It is in the stillness my spirit communes with God and is renewed. It is not in the maniac excitement.
The calm humming bird couldn’t choose what others did around him. But he could (and did) chose what he did. Stillness (or peace) is not the result of what others are doing around me. Stillness is a choice I have to make – whether I am in a crowd of fifty thousand or fifty miles from the nearest person.
I choose to be the calm hummingbird.
“I will hear what God the Lord will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly.” – Psalm 85:8
Jesus never published a book.
He probably read only a handful – maybe just one.
Jesus never earned any advanced degrees.
He may not have even gone to school.
Jesus was never an internationally renowned speaker.
At best He was a locally infamous revolutionary.
Jesus never led armies or held a commission.
But He won the greatest victory in human history.
Jesus never claimed any earthly power or throne.
But He set up an everlasting kingdom.
Jesus worked as a laborer,
For 30 years, just like you and me.
Jesus taught anyone who wanted to learn,
And probably never earned a dime doing it.
Jesus spoke with authority that amazed
And confounded because where did it come from?
Jesus was content with 12 men who faithfully followed,
Hundreds of mile on foot, not just on Facebook.
Jesus left THE throne of heaven,
And turned away from that of earth,
Jesus did everything God had designed for Him (Phil 2:5-8) to do because…
God doesn’t need books or PhDs or a charismatic public speaker. He doesn’t need armies or strength of arms or politics to use someone.
He just needs you.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.