What a busy backyard illustrates about the church


The beauty of everyone contributing to the whole

by Don Morris

Many of the old, huge maples and oaks in my son’s Kansas City, Mo., neighborhood are 60 to 70 feet high and provide a magnificent green, leafy canopy above lush green lawns. One morning I sat at a large window and gazed out at the beautiful backyard.

At first I didn’t see much, but as I relaxed and really looked, I began to notice an orchestra of activity. I started to count the squirrels running around and soon had numbered a dozen of the inquisitive furry creatures. Some were running up and down the expansive tree trunks, others were skittering across the top of the wood fence and several ran up onto the back porch, oblivious that I was standing there watching them through the glass just two or three feet away.  Some squirrels were content doing their own thing; others were busy chasing each other in fun.

Then I began to see other creatures, like the huge robin that bounced around the lawn looking for worms. Since it had rained a lot, there seemed to be an abundance of worms near the surface and the robin was doing quite well with his breakfast until a large blackbird came swooping down to chase the robin from, what I gathered, the other bird considered “his domain.” The robin left for just a moment, until the blackbird had gone, and then flew back and resumed his feast in the grass.

As I looked high in the upper branches of the gigantic trees, I spied smaller birds flitting here and there with seemingly little purpose. Watching further, I saw that way up there were large clusters of small flying insects. So these little birds were having their own breakfast feast—it was just a different meal selection than that of the robin.

Suddenly two red-winged blackbirds came from the right and flew hard and fast to the left. It was then I figured out that one was quite impolitely chasing the other out of the area. They flew down the block in this pattern, evidently the one in charge making sure the other knew not to come back. Ah, territorialism!

Then I saw a lime-green lump—a frog! Where did he come from, and why hadn’t I noticed him before? He was rather large for a frog. Even though I didn’t witness any bug catching, I supposed he was there to catch the unfortunate grasshopper that got in his path. He didn’t hop around much, certainly not like the robin; maybe that’s why I hadn’t seen him.

This backyard scene was intriguing. There was so much happening once you really saw. Then it struck me. This is much like what Jesus expects to see when he watches his church. He doesn’t expect all of us to do the same thing or to be birds when we are really frogs. We are called to simply use the specific gifts that God has given to us.

If we just look at the whole of our community, we might not see what we need to see. We might get discouraged and think, “How can we cover all of the needs here?” But if I do my part and you do your part, the sum effect is a wonderful mix of just the right things to make it something truly wonderful.







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