Lessons from a Hummingbird

There is a male rufous hummingbird that keeps zipping by my head as I sit here trying to read Ephesians 4. The feeder to my left is the one that he has decided is his very own. I’ve been watching him perch in the sumac tree, only to immediately dive-bomb any other hummingbird that gets close to his feeder. After he has chased away each unsuspecting intruder, he doesn’t even stop for a sip, rather he heads straight back to his post to stand guard. His little interlude of rest atop his perch never lasts more than a few seconds because there is always someone else to chase away.

Watching him has me thinking about my tendency to want to protect what is “mine” and what the results are when I do that. No rest. No time to drink in the goodness that’s been prepared for me. What the hummingbird doesn’t realize is that I have an endless supply of hot water and I just brought home another 20 pound sack of sugar. Isn’t there enough for everyone? Even if he lets down his guard and decides to share what is “his”? The poor thing is laboring under the illusion that if he doesn’t protect his turf, there won’t be enough. Don’t I do the same thing with what God has provided? Decide it’s “mine” even though scripture says “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭24:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

If we could only conceive of the vastness of the resources that belong to our God, maybe we could stop living as though we are in a zero-sum game. Maybe we could actually rest and enjoy and drink our fill of the goodness that never runs out. For me, that most precious resource is time. “My” time. I forget that I live in the landscape of eternity and I am filled with the Spirit of God, who does not abide by the rules of our time-bound world. In our world I see the tendency to protect and defend all kinds of things – money, power, position, status, possessions. I fall into all these things too. What about you? Is there something you’re so busy protecting that you might be missing the rivers of generosity that God wants to unleash to you and through you?

Kristi Ahrens

photo credit: Kristi Ahrens