Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On Ostriches and Storks

Job 39:13-18, “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork. She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense. Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider” (NIV).

Weird Scripture, right?


I heard a story about Ostrich eggs once, and I think I’m borrowing this from Len Sweet, whom I first heard speak in what now seems like a galaxy far away, about a zillion years ago.  It was actually Nashville, TN in 2003.

Parenting is on my mind, as we turn the corner toward Father’s Day, and, interestingly this year, the story of Abraham and Sarah and the birth of Isaac.  But I’m getting just a touch ahead of myself.

As it turns out, the Ostrich might not be the worst example of a mother.  Sure, she lays her eggs in the sand where she may forget where she left them; but at some point in history, the Ostrich developed an uncanny ability to keep one eye fixed on the egg while using the other to search for food.  Yay for frazzled, crazy eyed, insanely busy parents who would do anything to care for their babies and realize full-well that means they can’t just sit on them all day long!

We can’t all be storks!

But I want to be exceptionally careful here, because I am actually pretty upset about the shift back toward treating stay-at-home parents as if they don’t matter.  And let’s be real, the pendulum on this swings wildly.

I was a stay-at-home mama for almost 16 years.  Initially, it was because that was what I wanted.  I loved it.  And even though I never intended for this way of life to continue for that long, I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) minute close to them, for years on end.

Some people have accused me of burying them in the sand and sitting on them, but whatever.  Even though I had no idea what I was doing at the beginning (just like every new parent), by the grace of God (or sheer luck… or something) it seems to have produced some fabulous people.

And then I realized, one day, that the eggs had hatched, and it would be OK if I got up and kept just one eye on the flighty little beings finding their own way in the world.  As it turns out, they still require several meals every day; so this is a good thing.  Kids are expensive!

But oh, the fallout…

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to focus on anything when people are screaming that you have to be a stork when you know you’re an ostrich?

I Corinthians 12:4-13, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.  Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (NIV).

I’m not going to lie.  There’s a bit of a temptation to go all ‘smash the patriarchy, feminist L’ on y’all, today.  But that would entirely defeat the purpose of this post… and more importantly, this Scripture.

I feel as if I hear a lot of big talk about free will and the importance of choosing (whatever we want) for ourselves, and yet it seems that those who are most vocal about this are also very concerned with convincing others to choose only as they would.  How does this make any sense?

What I love most about this passage from I Corinthians is that it is made so very clear that all of these gifts, all of these abilities, these multiplicitous ways of living come by the same Spirit. 

My goodness, what a horrible place this world would be if everyone was like me!  Or you… You, too…

What if we actually saw the value in diversity?  Because…  God does…

As a side note, when I was taking a pretty hard hit the other day from someone who thinks female pastors are abhorrent and I should probably do some more dishes; my oldest daughter just about jumped out of her skin.  As it turns out, the perception in our house is that I am an incredible mom and always involved in everything my children care about.  I just wanted to throw that out there, because the truth is, unless we’re talking about situations where children have been neglected or abused, kids tend to think pretty highly of (and defend) their parents.  I’m a far cry from perfect, but you might not want to take up that fight with my babies.  Because even though they are willing to call me on the carpet when I screw up; they will never, ever let you do the same!  You have to be pretty close to a situation to speak truth into someone else’s family life, and you have to be even closer than that to speak unfounded opinion and hope to get away with it!

Go raise your little ostriches and storks!

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