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Ministry also includes the sparrows

One morning following Easter during my quiet time with God, I was mentally rehashing all the wonderful things that happened. I was feeling good – maybe a little too good – a little cocky.

Lord, here I am; use me. Use me to be the leader our church needs. Help me become an example of Godly commitment and love for our community. Let me serve you in some special way today. I am eager to serve and cannot wait to see what happens next.

What great service would I accomplish today? Write a stimulating devotion that would inspire hundreds of lost souls? Teach a Bible study to a spiritually hungry group of disciples? A look at my schedule would reveal my first task for God. Surely there would be a special job befitting the role of spiritual leader.

My first appointment? “Take the dog to be clipped and dipped.”

“There must be some mistake. This is no job for an ordained minister. Where are the crowds? Where is my ministry?”

But Jesus said to someone else who was getting a little cocky, “For everyone who tries to honor himself will be humbled; and he who humbles himself will be honored.” (Luke 14:11)

So, I took my dog to be clipped and dipped.

On the way back, my thoughts returned to the morning prayer. “The day is young. I can still do something special to serve God.”

However, when I returned, my wife and my daughter were on their knees in the back yard watching over a baby bird fallen from the nest. They both looked at me with relief in their eyes and immediately asked, “What can we do to help?”

“Nothing!” I too quickly replied. “If you do anything, the mother will abandon it.”

For me, that settled the matter, but as we sat around the table eating lunch, there was a distinct and loud, “Tweet, tweet, tweet” just outside our window. Did I mention that it was raining?

My wife said, “Larry, you cannot leave that helpless baby bird out in the pouring rain.”

I wanted to ask about other animals caught in the rain, but seeing the hurt look on their faces, I did what any spiritual leader would do. We spent the rest of the afternoon putting the bird in a comfortable box and digging in the pouring rain for worms it refused to eat.

When I called to ask for help, the SPCA recommended calling the local veterinarian who gave me the phone number of the state wildlife service. In other words, I was going to get no outside help. The bird was now my responsibility. Tweet, tweet, tweet for me.

At the end of the day, frustrated and confused, I cried out to God. “I was supposed to serve You, not spend the day clipping and dipping and listening to the tweet, tweet, tweet of a little bird.”

But Jesus also said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of God.” (Matt 10:29)

I remembered my prayer, Lord, here I am, use me. Use me to be the leader our church needs. Help me become an example of Godly commitment and love for our community. Let me serve you in some special way today. I am eager to serve and cannot wait to see what happens next.

Years later, looking back on this experience, I realize that I was being necessarily humbled. Sometimes, serving God means a willingness to accomplish little chores as if they were big events. Tomorrow, I will pray, “God use me any way You can.”

We never could get the little bird to eat, so my next pastoral leadership duty was a proper funeral and burial.

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.