We mounted some clay pots on our back patio to plant herbs in for the spring. There is just one problem, the birds got to them first. So instead of growing herbs, we will now be playing host to the hatching of baby birds in nests they have made in two of our pots. Well...as I watched these birds, it reminded me of Jesus' reassuring words in the sermon on the mount. Here I watched these little creatures day in and day out find food and shelter, which God constantly provides. We are of so much more value - so won't God also care for us? So long as we seek his kingdom first, the answer to that question is yes. Not yes to all our comforts, but yes to what we truly need.
What if I told you that God could be seen in the most ordinary things every day?
What if I told you that every day, ordinary events could teach us extraordinary eternal truths?
Would you believe me?
Hi, I’m BJ Sipe – and you’re listening to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast.
I am a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father.
Thanks for tuning in!
A slight change in our scheduling going forward! Just with how my schedule fluctuates with different studies I have and different things going on in our lives, we are making a 24-hour change to the schedule of our podcast episodes! Going forward, new episodes each week will drop on a Thursday instead of a Wednesday as we have been previously doing. So, welcome to our first Thursday drop – and on to our topic of discussion for today. My wife is the best homemaker that I have ever seen. I’ve talked about it before, as many of you have heard, but her eye for design and her thriftiness in doing so is second to none. Home is my favorite place in the world, first and foremost because of who is in it, but secondly because of how my wife makes our home so warm, inviting, and comfortable. Well, apparently, she’s good at not just doing so for our family, but for some new neighbors that we now have living on our back porch. Allow me to explain that one now that I’ve got your attention. On Monday this past week, Kylie had purchased these cute little clay pots that she wanted mounted on our brick wall on our back patio. These were going to go decoratively above the back patio couch she just found and reupholstered and painted, it looks amazing. I got out my drill, put some pilot holes into the mortar, and arranged the pots in their brackets as she had asked me to do. Since it was getting later in the day, she decided that we would leave them as is for a day or two, and then come back and put soil and herbs to grow in them when we had some time. Fast forward to Tuesday morning, not but 12 hours later. I was drinking my coffee and getting my day going when Kylie goes, “Honey, you’ve got to come check this out.” I walked to the back porch glass door and looked out. She pointed to the top two pots, where sat perched a red breasted robin organizing busily different twigs and grass blades inside the pot. “They’re making a nest!” I said out loud. We couldn’t believe it. It had only been 12 hours since we put those pots up, and they had already claimed it for themselves. Who could blame them though? In our newer subdivision we don’t have a lot of trees yet, so to be out of the elements under our covered back patio and out of the reach of children, this was seemingly the perfect place for them to make their nest. “Well,” I said, “I guess we’re not growing herbs this spring, instead we’re playing host to grow some baby birds.” And hey, we’re not complaining. Baby birds are absolutely precious. The pots are high up enough that the kids won’t disturb them, neither will the dog, so the eggs will be safe eventually when they lay them. In the meantime, I suppose we’ll fill in the other four pots when the birds aren’t around unless they lay claim to those also before we can. And then, we’ll sit back, look out, and enjoy watching our new neighbors who have moved in on our back porch.
As I sat there watching the robin pack the nest tighter and tighter from the back door, it reminded me of some of the most comforting words that we find in the sermon on the mount. Jesus spends nearly the entirety of chapter 6 of Matthew contrasting true riches and treasure with the vain things we pursue after in this life. He begins the section speaking about generosity, giving in secret, and caring for the poor. After speaking on prayer, he returns to this theme by addressing that we should lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven and not treasure here on this earth. The climax of this section is found in vv. 25-34, which we want to read in its entirety for today’s podcast. “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus’ point is highlighted by making a comparative illustration from the lesser to the greater. He calls our attention to several things, but for today I want us just to focus on the first illustration – to the birds. Jesus calls his listeners to stop and reflect on the birds that surround them day in and day out. They are not employed. They don’t plant and reap a harvest. They don’t erect buildings for themselves. And yet despite all of these things – they have everything they need. Why? Because the Father knows their needs, and he provides it for them. In fact, he knows every single bird that takes flight and lives on this earth (see Matthew 10:29). This is where the argument from the lesser to the greater comes in. If God so knows the needs of the birds, and though they can do nothing for themselves, their every need regarding food and shelter is provided for by God…then what reason would we ever have for being anxious? This is a hard lesson for me. Like many people, finances give me great anxiety – they always have. It is an area of personal growth I am continuing to work on. I say that to you to say this: I really feel like Jesus is speaking to me personally with this one. As I sat there watching these birds make their nest on our patio, I felt like I was sitting at the feet of Jesus as he spoke these words. Right before my eyes, God was caring for these small, delicate creatures. Am I not of more value than a bird? Jesus says outright that we are, and he would again in Matthew 10:31 where he stated, “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” This is the point…God knows what you need. God knows your circumstances. And, God promises that he will provide. Don’t misunderstand Jesus’ words – this is not the health and wealth gospel. Sometimes we will find ourselves in more difficult times than others…but even in those times, so long as we seek first the Kingdom of God & his righteousness, God promises that he will provide for our needs. So the next time you’re stressed out because of what’s going on with the economy, or your job, or medical bills, or taxes, or after the 3rd major appliance breaks in a month, do yourself a favor…go watch the birds. Remember the difference between our comforts & our real needs, and then remember that God will always provide for the needs of those whose hearts are blameless towards him.
Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode, and I would invite you back every Thursday for a brand-new episode each week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for future announcements or even some special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, share it with someone else that you think would benefit from it also. Until next time, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.