Look at the Birds

by Rev. Terry Forke

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The wind whistling through his feathers sounded too close for comfort. I instinctively ducked, but he took no notice. He was not alone. In the shadow of Ramshorn Peak in south-central Montana, three ravens were playing in the wind. I was the sole member of the audience as they dove and tucked and rolled and fell and wrestled with each other and the wind. Who knows how a raven thinks, but it looked like they were having fun. The spectacular aerial display was matched by the sense of playfulness with which they engaged one another.

This was not a day I would have chosen to play in the air. We were high in the mountains. The wind was shrieking. Snow was spitting. The ravens were goofing off. Unconcerned with conserving energy, or finding their next meal, or locating suitable shelter, they seemed to be simply enjoying God’s creation. I was blessed to rejoice in their carefree life.

I share this scene with you because the cir-cumstances of our world right now are anything but carefree. For many, they are laden with anxiety and fear. The housing market has crashed. The stock market has tanked. Your house and your 401k are undoubtedly worth less today than they were last year. How is a Christian to think about the financial crisis that dominates so much of the news?

Jesus said, “Do not be anxious . . . Look at the birds . . . your heavenly Father feeds them . . . Are you not of more value than they?” Is this guy for real? How can He just say, “Don’t worry”? Does He realize how much money I’m losing? How can I not worry?

We sinners have a hard time trusting God under the best of times and a worse time under terrible times. We prefer to trust our home equity, our managed portfolios, our bank accounts, our credit cards. These are the powers we depend on every day. They readily sneak into our consciousness as that which will save us. As such, they become gods to us. It should not be a surprise that God would send a financial crisis to remind us of the fleeting strength of our financial gods.

When God sends the financial gods into a death spiral, He is sounding a bold call to repentance. You have heard His Word, “There is no god beside Me.” And there is none. God did not send the dollar to save you. He sent His Son. Jesus came to save you from the financial gods, not by guaranteeing your investments but by freeing you from dependence upon them. When Jesus went to the cross, He took that sin, and all others as well, and defeated them. He exposed the false gods for what they are, impotent idols. He rose in victory over it all and shares that victory with you.

Through faith in Jesus you live a forgiven, new life. In this new life you not only look at the birds, you look like the birds. This is what God’s Holy Spirit is working in you. Because you are His beloved children, He is at work in you to overcome your anxieties. He is strengthening you to deny the false gods their powers. He is living in you to simply enjoy the wonders of His creation, trusting that He will take care of you no matter what the financial gods do. “Look at the birds.”

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? —Matt. 6:26 ESV.

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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