Here is my follow-up on my promise to explain what I meant in my New Year's Resolutions about wanting to be an Eagle Christian.
Our lay preacher, Randy Dustin, did a fantastic job a couple of Sabbaths ago with describing how some Christians might resemble birds or animals with certain characteristics which may or may not be desirable. Phil. 3:2 states “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers.” Galatians 5:15 states “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” See also, Isaiah 56:10.
But all dogs aren't bad dogs. There are seeing-eye dogs, guard dogs, sheep dogs, to name a few. But he had us think about some not-so-good ones we might find in a church. The pointer, always blaming other and seeing faults in others, never his own. He added that he was glad we don't have pointers in our church. Then there are sitters, spectators who never participate. The bull dog who is a bully no one likes. (He asked if we had noticed that some pets begin to look and act like their owners, or vice versa.)
But he wanted to talk mostly about birds that might need to watch out for if they fly into our church. A sapsucker, for instance. That would represent a church member who always says “we can't!” We can't have meetings this year because we have no money. Can't do any visiting because my back hurts. Can't get the roof fixed – not enough money. A Sapsucker won't help, won't pray, won't give. “Aren't you glad we don't have any Sapsuckers in our church? Hey, we have people who want to give, want to help, want to pray,”
“He talked about buzzards who like a “stink” - (“You see what so 'n so did? - What so 'n so wore?”), or the humming bird that can fly backward out of the church as easily as he can fly in, or the mocking bird that sounds just like church people unless he is out in the world, and then he sounds just like the world.
A bird God would have us imitate a Dove, always be gentle. Always kind, forgiving, just plain nice to other people.
Then the eagle. Eagles are like no other bird, peculiar in a lot ways. (God says He has a “peculiar” people” 1Peter 2:9.) King Solomon (reportedly the wisest man in the world), wrote about three things that were totally beyond his understanding and one was the way of an eagle in the air. (Proverbs 30:19). The way of an eagle is a picture of the kind of life we are privileged to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. The first thing we can find out is that to grow up to be an eagle, you must be born one. (crows and canaries never grow up to be an eagle.) Jesus said “You must be born again.” You can go to church forty years and never be born again. A heart transplant is what we need. A new heart.
The eagle builds its nest on very high cliffs or rocks and raises its young on the face of a cliff where it is safe from predators and the elements. From that height he can see a tiny mouse or lizard thousands of feet below on the forest ground. Their nests are high up for greater safety and they build their nests, not out of twigs, but larger branches so that if the nest falls and hits the ground, it will rarely come apart. Their nests may weigh ½ a ton. The center is carefully lined with feathers and leaves and the eggs are hatched there.
Eagles can fly, but they don't know they can. If one falls out of a nest and is not caught by its mother before it its the ground, it will never fly but will grovel in the dirt like a chicken. The mother carefully edges the young ones to the edge of the nest and out, but catches them before they hit the ground. She hovers near the nest and spreads out her wings to catch the babies and carry them back to the nest.
When the babies are old enough, she begins tearing apart the nest. She sets some of the branches straight up and down in the middle of the nest so that it is no longer comfortable to sit on. They may be saying like some young people that they are too young to go out into the world, but she doesn't listen. She knows something they don't know – that they will never grow up and fly if they remain in the nest.
We need to know the way of God. He wants us to mature because we are made to fly, too. We weren't made to grovel in the dirt like a chicken. We were created in the image of God. We were made to soar but sometimes we don't know that. Sometimes God pushes us out of our comfort zone.
Sometimes we have things just the way we want them and God may come and “tear down” our comfy nest so that we can learn to believe in him and have faith that He will never leave us or forsake us. When things happen and you wonder, Why me, Lord? It may be the Lord is wanting you to discover that underneath all the problems are his everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27.
We learn that our security is not in our bank accounts, jobs, homes, or even our spouses. Not even in our health, but only in him alone.
Eagles don't fly, if you mean flap their wings like other birds. You may see an eagle perch on a rock with every muscle taut, his whole body waiting. People have tried throwing rocks at such an eagle because he is so quiet they thought he was dead. But he has the inborn ability to sense the motion of the air. An eagle won't budge until he senses the wind. When the wind is right he soars, not flies, away with the wind buoying him up. Soaring.
Eagle Christians seek out where God is moving and moves with Him. Eagle Christians seek the Holy Wind in their lives. Eagle Christians can see what others don't see. They see new life with a different set of eyes, a new vision. They see when others are hurting. God wants us to soar.
Eagles seem to know when they are going to die and leave their nest and fly to a rock (always a rock) and fasten their sharp, strong talons into the rock and look straight into a rising or setting sun. They die and are found like that. If you have seen an Eagle Christian died you may have seen a sad yet beautiful sight. Their feet are firmly planted on the Rock of salvation, their eyes are looking into the face of the Son of Righteousness, the Rock of Ages.
Remember, the Eagle Christian must first be born one.
Eagle Christians don't stay in their little nest of safety when they mature.
Eagle Christians learn not to put their faith anywhere but in their loving Father.
Eagle Christians see far off, the future as God reveals it, and also the needs of others.
Eagle Christians will know when their work here on earth is done. Their feet are firmly planted in the Rock of ages.
I want to be an Eagle Christian. (This is not a thorough picture that Randy left us, but it is as good as I can do.