From the Well - 10/18/2018

Swallow learning to fly.jpg

Matthew 5:48 (MSG) 
48 "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. 

Acts 20:35 (MSG) 
35 In everything I've done, I have demonstrated to you how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them. You'll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, 'You're far happier giving than getting.' "

In Eugene Peterson’s, Run with the Horses, he tells the story of a family of birds teaching their young ones to fly. Three young swallows are perched on a dead branch that stretches over a lake. The mother swallow shoves the young chicks toward the end of the branch and then proceeds to push them off, one by one. Somewhere between the branch and the water, the first young chick begins working its wings, fledgling off on its own. The second one manages to take off the same way.

The third chick refuses to be bullied by its mother. It holds on to the branch with all of its strength. At one point swinging downward and hanging upside down with a bulldog tenaciousness. Mama bird is persistent. She pecks at the young bird’s talons until it is more painful for the chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. Finally, the young bird lets go and its inexperienced wings begin pumping. The mother swallow knows what the chick does not-that it can fly-and there is no danger in making it do what it is designed to do.

Peterson writes:

Birds have feet and can walk. Birds have talons and can cling. But flying is their characteristic action, and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully, and beautifully. [1]

There are two points that I want to make using this story as a backdrop. First, we are at our best when we give. It is what we are designed to do. Some desperately hold on to themselves and what they have and are ultimately miserable in the process. We don’t think we can live generously because we have never tried.

The second thing is this: there are people in our community and world who are desperately hanging on to a troubled life. They can only let go if we are here to provide guidance and support through the Body of Christ at Clemmons UMC. The two work together. There is a need to give and the desperate need of those who need to know the transformative experience of following Jesus Christ. It’s a match made in heaven. Don’t you want to be a part of it? Think about it.


[1]Eugene H. Peterson, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 43-44.