I had an altercation with a squirrel yesterday. He (or she), with the help of some buddies I guess, had gnawed through the screen on our back porch and helped themselves to some birdseed that we had mistakenly left there. We returned from out of town to find the aftermath – seed scattered everywhere, big holes in the heavy duty plastic bags that held said seed, and three squirrel-sized openings in the screens that were meant to keep such critters out.
The real drama happened when I stepped out onto the porch to assess the damage only to find him (or her) still hiding among the carnage. To say we surprised each other would be a huge understatement! He (or she) made himself (or herself) known by running the perimeter of the porch several times with me chasing him (or her), both of us with the same ultimate goal – to release him (or her) from the premises. It was quite a sight I’m sure.
Our ultimate goals (the squirrel’s and mine) were similar but our initial goals were greatly different – mine to protect the area and him (or her) to scavenge. That alone could be enough to squeeze a point out of the experience for my blog. However, another irony hit me harder. The squirrel was wanting something that already was his (or hers). We had bought the bag of seed to feed all fauna – birds, squirrels, even raccoons (if they could behave themselves). And we did feed them – each day, a little bit at a time. The only change was that we were out of town for a few days and squirrels, being who they are, just couldn’t wait. Squirrels are hoarders by nature and therefore scrounge for the future. They are definitely future planners.
At the Allen house we have lived on God’s daily rations – biblically called “manna” – for many years. Several times we have hoarded (sometimes called investing or saving which is a good thing) but too often we’ve tried to plan way ahead of what God had for us that day – worrying about whether we’d have enough for tomorrow instead of thanking Him for what He’s given us today. And this doesn’t just apply to finances either. We’ve wondered if we’d have the strength or the wisdom or the patience for what might come. Planning ahead is great but stealing something that’s already ours to have (in daily doses) is not. In fact, it can be self-destructive.
In the paraphrase version of the Bible The Message Jesus teaches his disciples great life lessons. It’s recorded in Luke 12 and reads like this:
“Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
“Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”