By: Judith Hargett
It sounded like a giant bumble bee as it zoomed past my ear. This flying torpedo barely avoided hitting me and was only able to miss the collision due to its excellent maneuvering skills. Hummingbirds are the top-gun pilots of the bird world. This one was focused on the lone, hot pink, zinnia that had sprouted up in the cannas’ bed. The zinnia looked out of place. A seed had somehow gotten to that spot and germinated, and I wasn’t about to pull up something with a pretty bloom just because it wasn’t in the perfect spot. A good reminder to us when God plants us somewhere we don’t want to be. We can flourish right where we are when we take in His rich food.
There is something else in our yard that is not in a perfect spot, and that is Stray Cat. He has worn out his welcome by making the area around the bird feeders his favorite place to sit…twitching his tail and licking his lips in anticipation of a light-as-a-feather treat. The final straw remaining in his welcome mat was recently yanked out when blue feathers were found beneath the feeder…no longer attached to their owner…a strong indication of foul, fowl play. Once accustomed to roaming the hills in search of daily provisions, Stray Cat quickly discovered what too many humans have learned. It is easier to take advantage of the largesse of well-meaning individuals than to get out and hustle up one’s own provisions. While it is always good to help those who have suffered misfortune, the help should normally be temporary, allowing an opportunity for the person to regain physical or financial strength…not crippling dependence.
The cat, while appearing to be the hunter, had also fallen prey to his own weakness. He was so attracted by the colorful birds—seemingly organized as a bird smorgasbord for his dining convenience—that he became increasingly unwilling to give up his position even though we gave him repeated warnings. My arm waving and yelling, “Scat cat,” were clearly no longer having the desired effect. A relocation program must be considered.
Again, I am reminded of human behavior patterns. When we allow ourselves to be around people and places that are detrimental to our spiritual health, we are giving the enemy an opportunity to pounce. Continued exposure dulls our judgment until we are totally blind to what is happening. Those of us who see this happening to fellow followers of Christ have an obligation to point out their failing vision to them in a loving manner. New Christians in particular need mature believers to come alongside them for they are prime targets of satan. Though he has lost the battle for their soul, He will be working diligently to stunt their spiritual growth and any positive influence they might have on an unbelieving friend or family member. (Pointing out sinful behavior to unbelievers may be good advice, but they don’t have the Holy Spirit to reveal sin and convict their heart. Our duty to them is to share the Gospel.)
So to summarize: 1) Grow where you’re planted; 2) Remove yourself from places and things that are detrimental to your spiritual health; and 3) Never get caught with feathers in your mouth.
Now some advice from Paul: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:16-17
Entertaining and sound article, Judith. You are a wonderful and thoughtful writer. Regarding your point of helping others – I would definitely agree. For more on that matter, a great read is “When Helping Hurts, How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Corbett & Fikkert.