On my old office door I had a reference to Matthew 6:26, a short directive from Jesus Christ: “Look at the birds.” It’s very clear to me that Jesus knew a great deal about the natural world and how we could benefit from observing it. I guess that’s not so surprising, since he made it, governs it, and sustains it by the word of his power (Gen. 1; Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:17).
The other day, on my way home from work, I came to a stoplight near my home. I looked out the driver’s side window to see three dozen or so tiny song sparrows hopping about on the sidewalk. It was cracked and chipped, bearing larger blue rocks under the smooth surface of the cement. And on it something was littered that the birds were after. I couldn’t tell what it was, but they were fixated on it, dropping their marble-sized heads every few seconds to touch the ground.
Watching them hop and flutter and bow, I began to smile. Such tiny creatures, carrying on without much of the world noticing! Cars were swishing past them every few moments, the drivers oblivious: some smoking, some blaring music from their speakers, some staring off into the distance before them. But God was noticing.
God cares for the birds. Think about that for a moment. He doesn’t just know about them; he cares for them. He gives them food on a regular basis. He sustains them. Whatever that substance was that the song sparrows were bowing to consume—God provided it. He gave it to them, because he is a giver, a carer, a provider.
Jesus’s point, of course, was one of comparison. God cared for the birds flying overhead in Jesus’s day. And he cares for these little song sparrows today. He cares for them, and yet they’re aren’t even his image bearers. You are. If that’s the case, how much more will God care for you? How much more will he sustain you? How much more will he provide for your every need?
Looking at the birds, you see, is not just an exercise for ornithologists. It’s an exercise for you and me, because God is showing us something of himself in their activity. And he does this sort of thing all the time . . . everywhere. In fact, there is no part of this world that does not reveal something of the character and nature of God.
So, keep your eyes peeled on your next trip in the car. See what God might be showing you about his generosity, his grace, his greatness, his compassion, in the world around you. Keep your eyes peeled for the ordinary, for that is where God is.