Birds and Berries

By Kelsey Knobloch  

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! – Luke 12:24


I’m not a big fan of winter. Maybe it’s from being from Texas, but the cold weather just doesn’t agree with me. Or, rather, I don’t agree with it. A few years ago, my college advisor posted something online that sums up my opinion rather perfectly: “I no longer have any tolerance for cold weather. Being cold just annoys me. And right now, I am really, really, really annoyed.”

That being said, there’s a frustrating habit that comes along with this colder weather: birds. Not that the birds themselves are frustrating, but that they come out in the worst of weather. While I hate the cold, I love looking at birds. And for whatever reason, they come out in droves when it snows. I get to watch them flit around my back deck & feeder; all shapes, sizes, and colors.

There was a special experience this year, however, that caught my attention. Around mid-December, I noticed that all of the leaves from the two trees in front of the church office had fallen, leaving two sets of bare branches covered in small, red berries. I’m not sure what kind of berries (or trees) they are, but I thought it looked awfully pretty, especially with the steeple in the background, so I snapped a picture.

The next time I came to the office, however, most of the berries were gone. They hadn’t all fallen off of the trees; in fact, there were very few on the ground at all. They had all been spirited away to somewhere else. As I sat in my car briefly, I spotted some movement in the bushes nearby. It took only a few seconds for the birds to appear and quickly answer any lingering mystery as they hopped from branch to branch, munching away on berries.

There’s a beautiful juxtaposition between the trees that look dead, without a leaf to be seen, and the berries that provide food for these birds when there is no other sustenance to be found. No doubt you can see where I’m going with this. (The verse at the top sort of gave that away, didn’t it?) Just as God provides for the birds, He provides for us.

Which has always seemed such a convenient lesson. I’m not proposing it’s untrue, just that it’s hard. If God provides for us, why is there so much need in the world? If God provides, why do we have not one, but two separate ways on our campus to feed the food insecure in our area? If God provides, why do our lives so often seem like a struggle to get from day to day?

But as hard as it can seem, it’s true. He does provide, though maybe we’ve grown to overlook it. To be certain, there is need in the world. But there are hundreds of thousands of charities, most of which hope to “leave the world better than we found it.” What is that, except God acting through us? There is food insecurity around us, yes, but we’re also doing something about that through our food pantry and the soup kitchen on our campus. God works through us to help our neighbors. There are other challenges, to be sure, but one way or another, God helps and provides for all of His creation. In any and all circumstances, God is there. Where have you overlooked His help lately? Where have you been an instrument of His when you least expected it?

29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, strive for His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” – Luke 12:29-31

Did you catch that? In the middle there, verse 30. Your Father knows that you need them. We’re still told to pray and ask for what we need, but God knows, and He provides. He’s got it under control. In the meantime (or instead of worrying), we should be looking to verse 31: “Instead, strive for His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

Do God’s missions. Progress His Kingdom. Be His hands and feet. Fulfill the needs of your neighbors. In the meantime, God will take care of your food, your clothes, and everything else you need in this life. Instead, do His work and look forward to the eternal life after.