© 2005, Lisa Biggs Crum
God’s artwork on the sky displays a beautiful array of colors in the gentle flowing clouds. What beauty he gives us and why? Not for our sake but for his holy name.
Ezekiel 36:22-23 (NIV)
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
It is so easy to get prideful even in our appearance of humility. I have a dream to be a writer. I want to share my thoughts so that others will deepen their intimacy with God. I believe God has given me this dream yet I so often say to myself: "I can’t be a writer. I’m not that good." Then I am reminded that God is the giver of life and dreams not for our sake but to show himself to the world through us.
As I was sitting on the front porch admiring the beauty of creation, I heard geese flying over. There were three flocks of them. One flock had just three geese. None of the geese were flying alone. One flock had about a dozen geese. All the flocks were flying in the V-formation. According to scienceforfamilies.allinfo-about.com “The movement of air by the wings of each bird makes the job of flying a bit easier for the bird in back of it. The leader must do the most work. On long flights there may be several leaders who take turns.”
Now let’s think about that for a moment. Our human “instinct” is to take control and keep control. Yet we can see that God has given even Canadian Geese the instinct or intelligence to fly in flocks and share the leader responsibility. Could it be that our desire to be in charge of ourselves and others is not God-instilled instinct but pure and simply human arrogance and pride? Perhaps this is why our culture is full of stressed out individuals. God did not design us to function as individuals in any task.
1 Corinthians 12:26-28 (NIV)
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
The article on geese did not state that all the birds alternate as leader - only those that are leaders. How do birds know who is a leader and who isn’t? I don’t have the answer to that question but I am discovering in my life that God will make it known what he has designed me to do if I will go back the instinct he has put in me rather than the false self I have attempted to create. The lead goose has the hardest job. Why would any bird want to attempt that position unless it was designed to be a leader? Just as it is with human abilities, when we strive to be something we are not designed to be, it will not only be very frustrating for us, it will also hinder the entire flock.
My guess is that the birds don’t think much about aspiring to be leader. They just know who is. Each one of them has a job to do. Each bird is making the flight a little easier for the one behind him. The end of the line is the resting spot for the one who has been leading. There’s a new twist on the first will be last.
According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, Matthew 19:30 which states that “many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first” is referring to the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul refers to this exchange of position in Romans 11:25-30. Although the Jewish nation is God’s chosen people, they have been put in a position so that they may receive mercy just as the Gentiles have.
When will our Christian culture live into God’s design? When will we stop trying to live as individual Christ followers and join together as the body of Christ? When will we recognize that it is the Holy Spirit that has appointed each one to function in their God-designed role? All are equally important not for the individuals ability but for the common good. According to www.riceromp.com, geese can fly thousands of miles non-stop in the V-formation - 70% farther than they could do alone. When we as individual Christ followers fall into formation and are hidden in Christ, “then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.”