Birds love our front porch. Every year about this time, they build their nests on the decorative wreaths my wife puts out in the spring. There must be something inviting about the safe, dry and somewhat calm and sheltering environment of the front entrance to our house. I suppose this is true, at least in part, because most of our comings and goings happen through the garage door.
This year the birds were back again, and before I knew it, there was a nice little nest with three tiny blue eggs. I did not want to try to move the nest, so I decided to enjoy watching nature unfold on my doorstep.
For the next five weeks, I was fascinated as I watched these three baby birds hatch, grow into maturity, and finally push each other out of the nest and fly away. It was interesting to note how, until they left the nest, they were totally dependent on their parents for food and protection . Any noise or motion on the porch caused them to open their beaks and stretch their little necks in anticipation of their next meal.
Watching these little creatures waiting for their food made me think about the countless number of Christians who do something very similar every Sunday when it comes to their spiritual nourishment. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “I’m looking for a new church because I’m not getting fed where I attend now.” People who say this remind me of these baby birds straining their necks, expecting to be “fed” by someone else; and when it does not happen, they move on to a new church. What a shame! They have never learned to feed themselves.
As we begin our life in Christ, we depend on others to help us learn and grow. However, just as these birds learn to fly, leave the nest, and find their next meal, as followers of Jesus, we too should mature and learn to feed ourselves. The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Corinthians, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2 NIV)
I heard a pastor say to his congregation, “My job as pastor is not to feed you every Sunday, rather to make you hungry, so you will want to feed yourself.” Just as it is heartbreaking to see a loved one unable to feed himself or herself because of illness, an accident, or delayed development, I believe it is even more heartbreaking for God to see His children unable or unwilling to feed themselves and grow spiritually.
The Apostle Paul explains in his letter to the Ephesians why it is so important for us to grow and mature in our spiritual life. He says, “. . .until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:13-14 NIV)
Where do you receive your spiritual nourishment? Are you feeding yourself? Are you feeding your heart and soul every day? Or, are you waiting for someone else at a church or a Bible study? Spiritual growth does not happen automatically. The only one accountable for your spiritual growth is you! So, learn to feed yourself! Grow up! Spread your wings and fly!