There is so much to worry and fret about in life. The pace of day-to-day pursuits has been likened to a rat race where only the rats are winning. We work hard to gain stuff and the only thing we gain is stuff to worry about. Our barns are never big enough and we tear them down to build bigger ones and after time those are not quite what we need (Luke 12:15-21). Barn building is big business and expends so much of our lives.
Jesus warned His disciples about tearing barns down and building new ones. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” (Luke 12:22-24). When we stop to smell the roses (and we should), we should watch the birds.
The lessons we learn from the sparrows and the ravens are eternal. They are not farmers and they do not shop at Walmart. But they also do not build barns. There is no need for a barn in their lives because they are not worried about where to put their stuff — they have no stuff. Jesus illustrates through His own creation that birds are cared for by the gracious hand of God. Birds do not have worry lines above their eyebrows. They do not have to visit the doctor to get medicine for anxiety and worry about stuff of life.
Birds teach the lesson penned by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:6-8: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content”. These creatures of God are content because they trust and rely upon God to feed them. The provisions of life are found in the providential care of a loving Creator. Our contentment must come from being satisfied. The man who tore down his barns in Luke 12:15-21 was never satisfied. He wanted more. Then he wanted more of the more. His definition of “enough” was always a little more than he had.
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me’” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Have you ever seen a covetousness bird? The only time you will ever see a bird excited about a $100 bill is when he finds one to make wallpaper in his nest with. He knows that the true worth of money is — nothing more than paper with dead Presidents (and a few others) on it. He does not worry about money because God takes care of him.
There is a saying that goes, “God promised to feed the sparrows but He never promised to bring the feed to the nest.” Jesus was not suggesting that man not work because the Lord requires man to work (Ephesians 4:28). Even in the time of Jesus people worried themselves sick about their stuff. We need to learn the lesson about the birds — they do not live in mansions. They are simple creatures who have a simple trust in the real meaning of life. Sadly, birds are creatures of the earth alone. When they die they return to the dust from where they came. Man, however, continues to live on in eternity. The Lord will judge men — not birds. But the Lord will use birds to judge a man when He compares the heart of the man. “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you” (Luke 12:31).