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What birds can teach us about faith

by Greg Schmidt, chaplain for Newton Presbyterian Manor

I can hear a few birds talking to one another outside my office window. Grackles squawk and beg for peanut-flavored suet. Sparrows chirp about how greedy the grackles are any time any food is available. And the Baltimore Orioles are sharing that they discovered a well of Welch’s® grape jelly!

How do I know what they’re saying? Because I sit for hours on my deck … and listen! [I’m secretly hoping the birds will come and sit on my shoulder or perch on my hand!] Trust me, birds live in a never-ending search for food!

Interestingly, the Bible says God provides for the needs of the sparrow. But that doesn’t mean those little chirpers can just sit back and have it delivered! Sure, the food is there. Available. But they have to go in search of it!  

By the way, it’s the same for you and I. Only our never-ending search is for love! It’s there. Available. Jesus said, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8). In this case, love is there … but action is necessary. We have to search for it!

So, I’m happy to report that the longer I spend time with my Newton Presbyterian Manor and Heart & Soul Hospice workmates and families, the more I understand and appreciate how plentiful love is! It’s there for the searching!

Acts of Love. Compassion. The efforts to assist others in discovering peace of mind and spirit – for the patient and the employees – the energy given to providing a helping hand, a forgiving and encouraging spirit. Grace. Mercy. Patience for residents/patients … and their families. Generosity. Pay it forward attitudes and actions. A gentle touch. A shoulder to cry on. Someone to laugh with. Being a fellow burden-bearer and prayer warrior! I see them all the time! They’re here! At NPM!

My grandkids created a sign for me and my wife that says, “Next time you feel alone … don’t!” It’s their way of saying back to Gram and Pops what we always say to them; namely, “We’re here! We want to share life with you! We love you more than you will ever realize! Make the phone call! Write the text! Stop one or both of us and say, ‘I’m lonely or needy!’ Remember, we’re not mind-readers, but we’ll respond faster and love you deeper than you could ever imagine!’” It’s love given. And love returned. No one has to enter into a never-ending search. It’s here!

So, keep “chirping!” Let your needs be known! So many of our staff serve a God that has a never-ending supply of love. And lots of us are following Him as closely as we know how.

P.S.  If you don’t provide your Baltimore Orioles with “Welch’s grape jelly” … according to the husband of a past resident, they will come peck on your kitchen window and tell you, “Go back to Dillons® and get Welch’s, not Smucker’s®!” They’re grape jelly snobs. Just thought you should know!

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