I moved to Michigan nearly four years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that the American Robin is the Michigan State Bird. I had commented to someone that robins were very persistent and stubborn. They replied that they were the state bird (and well liked), and that I should make sure to treat them with respect.
There is a mother robin trying to build a nest in one of the rafters of our deck. I admit, it’s a great place for a nest; she has chosen the spot wisely — it is out of the rain, protected from the wind, and close to a bountiful food chain. However, I know that robins make a huge mess, come back to the same place year after year, and are quite aggressive in protecting “their” territory. I don’t want our deck to be a disaster zone so I am doing everything I can to discourage her from moving in. This battle has been going on for nearly a week and, by the time you read my article, maybe a month!
She will fly up, sit on the railing with nesting material in her beak, watch me, but will not fly away until I open the sliding glass door and step out onto the deck. As soon as I go back in the house, she returns, trying quickly to deliver her building materials before I see her or come out on the deck again. She has now taken to scolding me when I interfere with her nest building activity. And, even though we disagree, I admire the robin for her tenacity — there is much I can learn from her commitment to mission.
Paul says we should be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14), and be ready for every good work (Titus 3:1). Later in, he says it this way, Be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:8), and then he admonishes us to be a pattern of good works (Titus 2:7).
Right now, with all that’s happening in our world, it would be good for us to be like Mrs. Robin as it relates to Paul’s council. With her persistence and commitment, just think of the difference it would make if you and I were zealous for good works, springing forth from a heart overflowing with love (using caution and common sense, of course).
So many are in need! Will you help? You can pray, share your food, give a masked smile — the opportunities are limitless (almost). I think that’s what a good steward would do, don’t you?
Jon Corder is Stewardship director of the Lake Union Conference.