Living out in the country enables me to see many many species of birds. This is the third Monday I have written on what birds can teach us as believers in Christ. A couple of years or so ago I was walking in the pasture and noticed an owl stuck in the wire fence with a severely damaged wing. It had almost eaten it’s wing off to free itself. Even if it had, never was it to fly again. The wing was destroyed! We gently put it in a box and took it to the Tulsa Zoo. They said they would care for it. I have always been fascinated by them, so today, let’s see what the owl can teach us spiritually.
I love to observe the perched owl, usually high up in a tree. Their posture is upright and stare is straight forward. It is not normal to see them during the day as they are nocturnal animals and I will see them usually only in the very early mornings. They tend to hang out around vacated, dilapidated, barren areas. Psalm 102:6 makes reference to them: “I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places”.
The owl has amazing eyesight, and their hearing is astonishingly sensitive. In fact, the owl’s hearing is so superb that it can locate a rodent under leaves and snow; but the one amazing characteristic it has is it’s head movement.
The owl can rotate it’s head at least 180 degrees and the long-eared owl can rotate 270 degrees. This is something humans cannot accomplish physically. People like me with past neck injuries can barely turn 45 degrees.
Even though we cannot turn our physical heads like the owl, spiritually we can, and do at times. This reminds me of one of the characters in Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress, Mr. Facing-Bothways. He is just a fence sitter, not a Christian or non-Christian. He tries to be what Jesus says we can not be, the slave of two masters.
In another way, every Christian should be owl-like or a Mr. Facing-Bothways. With much gratitude we should look back to the past and on to the future with great expectation. It isn’t easy to do. As a matter of fact it is extremely difficult to do for most, including me.There are some things in the future that I hope for with great enthusiasm! Some of the traditionalists want no change at all. There are some things that are concrete and can never change. The Bible’s message can never change one jot or tittle, while the futurist has no regard for the past at all. Our task is to live in between the two, but always having great hope.
One other observation of the owl that I see as a Christian is that we should always be facing both ways. We look back to the first coming of Christ and the first real Christmas Day when in humility Jesus was born in the stable. Yet, we look forward with great anticipation to Christ’s second coming at the end of the age when He will come in power and great glory. In the mean time, we are living in the middle between His two appearings.
The Lord’s Supper reminds us of this when we observe it. “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup , you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” ( I Cor. 11:26). In this one verse Paul refers to the past ( Christ’s death) and to the future ( Christ’s return). We are to occupy until He returns, but never forgetting what He has already accomplished for us. The love that God displays in both comings, we are to display in between. May the love of Christ shine forth from us until He returns for His bride!
As the raven and the stork have taught us of faith and repentance, the owl has lessons for us to learn to better serve our Master. This is reason enough why our Lord instructed us to be bird watchers.
Until tomorrow, Lord willing,