I’m not sure what my dad had against squirrels, but maybe he was applying divine wisdom when I was a youth.
You did not want to be considered a squirrel in the Luthy household.
When I was in high school and college, and would mention a potential male suitor I was admiring, my dad would offer his opinion. This opinion rarely varied.
“Who are you talking about?” Dad would ask when I was prattling on about some new crush to Mom.
“Oh, just John Doe.”
“Psshhh. He’s a squirrel,” Dad would reply in judgment.
I’d usually ponder this for a minute, eventually come to the conclusion Dad might not be entirely wrong, and yet continue to pine after the fella in typical teenage fashion.
You see, squirrels, are, well…nutty. They’re nervous. They fret about, chiding all who come along, rarely stay in one place for long, are unpredictable and unnerving with those big eyes, little ears and darting tails.
A squirrel, no matter how many nuts and seeds he had stored up for winter, just wouldn’t make a good suitor for Dallas Luthy’s daughter.
However, once in a while, Dad wouldn’t completely disdain my flavor of the month
“Oh, him? We’ll he’s a half-squirrel.”
That was as good a compliment as a gentleman could get from my dad. Which meant green-flag pursuit for me.
Yesterday morning, Pastor Curtis Franklin preached on Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, and the all-too-familiar Matthew 6:25-34 — you know, the part where Jesus tells us not to worry.
I’ve heard these verses dozens of times, taught these verses, and preached these verses myself. As an anxiety-plagued young adult, this scripture is right in my wheelhouse.
But like God so often does, the passage came alive that morning in a new way as Pastor Curtis allowed the Spirit to work through his words.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matt 626)”
Pastor Curtis pointed out that there’s a reason that God desires for us to model our behavior after birds. Birds can FLY. Birds have FREEDOM. Birds are UNTETHERED.
“God did not ask us to be like squirrels,” Curtis said.
Oh. Ohh. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.
Squirrels, despite extreme acrobatics and the uncanny ability to jump precariously from branch to branch, are still completely tied to the ground. They are dependent on the earth for their sustainability. They must go off and search for food and make little squirrel storehouses. They spend entire seasons preparing for the next one.
Birds may make nests in the trees, but they aren’t tied to them. They’re dependent all right — on their Creator. There are no bird deep-freezes hidden at the bottom of the nests. They eat what’s available, or go elsewhere. Birds are bedazzled with iridescent feathers for vanity purposes or muted naturals for camouflage; bright yellows, blues, even greens and reds of the tropics. Black feathers, brown feathers and snowy white owl feathers.
Our feathered friends are closer to heaven than they are to earth. And God values that order in God’s creation.
But they aren’t so heavenly focused, they aren’t any earthly good, either (another Pastor Curtis lesson).
Birds make delicious dinners of bugs and critters we humans deem pests. They provide cheerful tunes from trees and bushes. They help you do your chores when you want to go to the ball to meet the prince…er…wait….
God asks us to be heaven-sent birds, not earth-bound squirrels.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt 6:33-34)
Maybe Dad was on to something after all.