Crraack! Mr. Churchman awakened with a start. The strobe lights dancing in the room confused him. Boom! boom! boom! The recurring noise shook the remaining cobwebs from his sleepy brain. “Wow, what a thunderstorm,” he muttered as he rubbed his eyes. The rest of the night he tossed and turned, listening to the thunder, seeing the lightening through closed eyelids, wondering what damage he would find in his yard in the morning. He dozed off before dawn, and woke to a quiet, sunny morning. Quickly pulling on jeans and a tee shirt, he grabbed a cup of coffee and walked outside. The early morning sun glistened on the wet grass, and the world looked fresh and green. He deeply inhaled the clean air. Glancing around the yard, he took a quick inventory: fence still standing, trees and bushes intact, flowers still on their stems. He breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently, there had been no damage from the powerful thunderstorm. Sipping his coffee, he strolled to the silver maple tree in the corner of the yard. “Hey, what’s this?” he said to himself. Under the tree lay a sparrow, apparently killed in the violence of the storm. Nearby, he saw another, also dead. Looking up, he spied a nest in a low branch of the tree. Standing on tiptoe, he saw a clutch of eggs—three small, pale blue ovals.
He wondered if the dead birds were the mother and father to the tiny birds growing inside those eggs.
Throughout the morning he peered at the tiny nest with its precious cargo. No mother bird came to sit on the nest. “The baby birds,” he thought, “will surely die.” That afternoon he carefully removed the nest from the tree. He set it on a small table in the patio. Trying to keep the eggs warm, he carried a lamp out to the patio, plugged it in, turned it on, and aimed its spotlight
on the blue eggs.
Every evening for a week he checked on the eggs, praying that the lives inside would be spared, praying that they would break the shells and emerge into new life. The following Saturday morning as he walked out the back door with his coffee cup, he heard them. Cheep! Cheep! Cheep! Holding his cup as still as he could to keep from spilling the coffee, he hurried across the patio. Sure enough, three scrawny baby birds pointed their wide open beaks skyward. Mr. Churchman had prepared for this moment. He had some food the pet store owner had assured him would provide nutrition for the newly hatched chicks. Carefully, he dropped food into their open beaks. Every hour that Saturday he fed the newborn chicks.
During the night he thought he heard them crying for more. “Surely they don’t eat all night long,” he thought as he wearily rolled over and went back to sleep. The next morning he fed them quickly before driving to church. After church he took his wife and children out to eat at their favorite restaurant. As soon as they returned, he sat down in front of the television to watch his favorite team. After the game he remembered the baby birds. He grabbed his packet of food and hurried to feed them. Their cries echoed loudly across the patio. To his surprise, only two chicks sat in the nest. Looking around, he saw the remains of the third chick at the edge of the patio, and watched in dismay as the neighbor’s cat slunk around the corner. “Oh, no,” he wailed. “I didn’t think about cats getting into the nest!” Quickly, he fed the remaining chicks, and then went inside to do his bible study and prepare for work the next day.
The next week was extremely busy for Mr. Churchman. He had an upcoming deadline for a big project at work, Wednesday night worship service, and the church’s monthly board meeting. His days and evenings were hectic. He was so busy he forgot the two little birds. Saturday morning came, and after sleeping in, Mr. Churchman decided to drink his coffee on the patio. When he opened the back door, he remembered the baby birds. Walking to the nest, he dreaded looking inside. Just as he feared, the two little birds had died, their tiny bodies shrunken and dried. Sadly, he picked up the nest and dumped it into the trash can. Then he sat at the patio table enjoying his morning coffee.
All you churchmen (and women) listen to the interpretation of the parable. Mr. Churchman represents all Christians. The chicks in the eggs are the non Christians we know. We are eager to see them experience new life. We want them to “hatch out” of their darkness and accept Jesus Christ. We pray for them or talk to them about making this important decision. We rejoice when they accept Jesus Christ and are born again. Unfortunately, like Mr. Churchman, once our new Christians are born, we often fail to properly care for them. We rejoice in new life, yet we fail to responsibly nourish that new life until it is able to fly away and feed itself.
Oh God, forgive me for failing to nourish and teach the baby Christians. Show me ways I can help them grow into mature Christians.
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”