In pondering over which bird to study for this weeks teaching, I decided upon a bird that I dislike very much. I find disfavor with this bird because of the mess they create…. It’s none other than the pigeon. I own some commercial property with multiple tenants. For years now, this building has been home to four pigeons that loft under the sidewalk awning. The 300 foot long sidewalk is always nasty in 2 spots because of them. With the building being in a major city, I can’t take my shotgun to them, and I haven’t used a slingshot since I was a kid. I wouldn’t dare poison them. If I were seen even attempting to kill them I would probably need to be bailed out of jail.
Today, I learned something very wonderful. When watching birds drink, have you ever noticed how they lower their heads, get a beak full of water, and raise their heads toward Heaven to allow the water to trickle-down their throats? Almost all birds drink by gravity; notice I said “almost”.
I have learned that all birds “but one” practice trickle-down drinking. There is only one of the 27 bird species that doesn’t fit into this practice, and it is the Columbiformes. To put this in simple English, these are the pigeon and dove family. It was news to me that they drink like a horse; by suction, and not gravity. So they dip there beaks in a puddle or pool of water and suck.
Thinking of the 26 species that lift their heads, it’s as if they are “thanking God” for His provisions and care for them. As believers, we are to be a people full of praise and thanksgiving to God. Listen to David:
Bless The Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:1-2).
We must be thankful for all of God’s gifts to us; and not just food and water and shelter.
G.K. Chesterton expressed it this way:
You say grace before meals.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink. (G.K. Chesterton, A Biography)
So what do the dove and pigeon teach us? I don’t want to pick on the dove. It was the dove that brought the freshly plucked olive leaf back to Noah; and it was “like a dove” that The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism. We must not forget Jesus words to His disciples to be “as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Nothing good, or bad, is stated in the Bible referring to the “pagan” pigeon that I know of; so what can we learn from them? In life we can learn both positives and negatives from almost everything and everybody. I’m certain I have areas in my life that many wouldn’t want to emulate; but some of my greatest lessons in life are from observing people, and not wanting to be like them in certain areas. The pigeon now is one of these. So, the next time I see a pigeon drinking, I am sure to be reminded of the pigeons “seemingly unthankfulness”, and I’ll recall the “seeming thankfulness” of all other birds. In both cases, I am reminded to be THANKFUL, and have a heart full of GRATITUDE to God!!!
The birds have been mighty teachers to me. When I look at them now I can’t help but remember what they have taught me. I’m so grateful that our Lord Himself instructed us to learn from them. BE THANKFUL!!!
Until next time, Lord willing,