For a long time I felt as if feeding birds was a bit wasteful and extravagant. My understanding of Matthew 6:26 was that there was no need for me to feed birds because God was already clearly taking care of that.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
But the more I read my Bible, the more my head began to understand what my heart already knew. God’s default means of providing for his creation (including us) is through someone else. It’s all over Scripture.
When Israel was forced to flee to Egypt because of terrible famine, God met their needs through Joseph. When God responded to the desperate cries of Israel as they suffered under oppression and slavery in Egypt, God rescued them by raising up Moses. When David was a refugee, hiding from King Saul in desert caves, God sent him encouragement through Jonathan. When Israel had resigned itself to life in the ruins of Jerusalem, God sent Nehemiah to restore hope and vision (and the city walls). These are just a few examples of how God provides and rescues us – through others.
Back to the birds… I believe Jesus famous quote (above) includes the underlying assumption that God responds to the basic needs of birds – and so should we. Look at it this way. We can participate in the provision of God for others – even birds – if we are so inclined.
So when I fill my bird feeders, I consider it both an act of worship and an act of partnering with God in his concern for the least of these. How much deeper the joy when partnering with God in meeting the needs of my fellow man.
There is no greater privilege than participating with God in his unilateral acts of love toward the world he so loves.
That’s why I feed the birds.
I suppose I should also mention that when Elijah was hungry and losing heart, God fed him – through birds 🙂