2008-12-30 - Pelicans and Eagles
Please note: This devotional mentions graphic material (in the animal world).
If I asked you if you consider yourself to be more of a Pelican or an Eagle, I bet you would prefer to be an Eagle. With their long, prehistoric beaks, Pelicans are often considered to be ugly creatures (though I personally disagree.). In contrast, birdwatchers will go to great lengths to catch a glimps of a majestic Bald or Golden Eagle.
But just as God looks upon the heart and not outer appearances (see I Samuel 16:7), likewise appearances can be deceiving, when it comes to our feathered friends. Putting aside the fact that Eagles eat the young of other birds, they are also "Lone Rangers©" . How many times have you seen Eagles flying in a flock? I noticed during our last beach vacation, that while Cormorants and Pelicans would congregate together, dozens at a time, we would always see Bald Eagles taking over an entire major power line, all to themselves. Pelicans, on the other hand, flock together - both in the water, on land and in the air. Flying together not only increases safety and eases the load of the individual birds, but it also makes for more efficient flights. And that's just what God planned for us. The Christian faith isn't a "between me and God" deal. As someone has said, we don't adhere to a "Lone Ranger© Faith." Any close reading of the New Testament will reveal a lot of "one another" statements. God made us for fellowship, and for relationships with our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV) Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
Both the Apostle Paul and Christ illustrated the importance of close friendships. If you have one or two (or if you are really lucky, even more) good Christian friends, thank God - literally. If not, ask God to provide. Sometimes pride prevents people from opening up; they feel they "don't need anyone but God." But that's human ego talking, not the Bible. If you are seeking a healthy mutual friendshp, the most logical place to start is your local church, which the New Testament instructs us to be a regular part of. And remember that the old axiom is really true; to have a good friend, you need to be one.