Monday, January 17, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: Choosing who God loves

Last week I wrote an article, For The Birds, about the new birdfeeder in our backyard. I wrote in that article, “In the sixteen days since Christmas, we haven’t seen a single bird use that feeder.” Also, “I’m going to keep watching for the blue jays and cardinals to come eat the food. I’ll keep you posted as to what happens.”

A few days later, I finally saw birds eating from the feeder. The bag of bird food we picked out had blue jays and cardinals on the outside of the bag and since we have plenty of those types of birds in our area, that’s what I expected to see. Instead, I saw what Google has told me is an American Goldfinch.

Watching and photographing those birds made me start thinking again. My article comparing the birdfeeder to a local church where people are fed the truth of God’s Word was still fresh in my mind.

I thought cardinals and blue jays would come to the feeder but goldfinches came instead. I began wondering... how often do we build a church, plan an outreach project, or do a church promotion with a picture in our minds of who it is we think will respond, just as I thought cardinals and blue jays would come to the feeder?

I've been guilty of this.

Of course I’ll go introduce myself to someone new at church (as long as she is about my same age, has children, is dressed nice but not too nice, and has a friendly smile).

Of course I’ll invite someone to visit our church (as long as it’s something I think they may find interesting, they are fun to be around, and they won’t embarrass me by coming).

Of course I’ll go serve food at a homeless shelter (as long as you don’t expect me to hug someone there, because, well, they smell sometimes).

We would never verbalize these thoughts out loud. Perhaps we don’t even admit them in the secrecy of our own thoughts. But I think quite often they are there whether we like to admit it or not.

My husband’s favorite place to be is outside. He has a huge love for God’s creation, especially animals. All animals. When my husband hung the birdfeeder by the deck, he wasn’t thinking, “Only blue jays and cardinals can come eat this food.” He wanted a birdfeeder so any bird who desired to do so could come eat during the cold winter months.

Likewise, Jesus didn’t establish the church and say, “This is only for the Jews.” Or, “This is only for the Gentiles.” Or the Baptists, or the Methodists, or the Blacks, or the Whites, or the Rich, or the Pretty, or the Kind and Good.

“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' 

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?

And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?

And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:12-14).

Click here to read the next story in the continuing saga of the bird feeder.


  1. Kathi - I loved the image of the bag of bird food causing you to expect what was on the bag... and how we do that when we do an outreach. It makes me think that whatever ministry God calls me to... I need to be careful what I expect the turnout to be.

  2. I loved this --had to check it out when you named it Guess who's coming to dinner--that movie came out the year we were married and fit our it was always Our movie! just last weekend Jay and Shyla were here and we watched it. I like that as you would invite any bird to eat at your feeder Jesus is there for all.