During the last weeks of the summer, Steve and I enjoyed a magnificent spectacle off our back porch and through our family room windows. We had a flock of hummingbirds buzzing around our flowers and feeders that we estimate numbered more than 50. Many, many more than we had ever had before. The sight and that very distinctive humming sound were hypnotizing.
Steve was very particular about his “brew” (1 c. sugar to 3 c. water) AND about how he wanted it prepared. Which generally meant that I just let him do it. 🙂 To keep four feeders supplied, he seemed to be making a gallon or so of his brew every other night. He was diligent about the task, and he had been very specific in the spring with his flower choices. He WANTED these tiny creatures to find our yard, and they did.
Consider these fun facts I found on kaytee.com:
- A typical hummingbird weighs less than a nickel.
- A female lays only 1 or 2 eggs, each one smaller than a jellybean.
- The kind we had in our yard — Ruby-throated hummingbirds — are found in the eastern part of the U.S. and from Canada to Mexico.
- They drink nectar by moving their tongues in and out about 13 times per second.
- A flock of hummingbirds may be called a bouquet, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer or a tune. Don’t you love those words? Aren’t they perfect?
- Hummingbirds don’t migrate in flocks. Instead, they typically travel alone for up to 500 miles at a time.
I looked a little further and found in thespruce.com that they have a heart rate of 1200 beats per minute. I was particularly interested in the preparations they make for their long migratory journey. Again in thespruce.com, I found that “as daylight levels begin to change, hummingbirds eat more on purpose and increase their weight by 25-40%.”
When our feeders were being bombarded with hungry hummers, they were racing to get fueled up for the long, solitary flight they were about to make. Their tiny brains told them what they needed to do. The Heavenly Father Who created them equipped them with the instincts to survive.
I believe that as Christians we also know instinctively what we need to do to stay healthy spiritually, to function as He intended and to stay fueled up for our own journeys. Here are some steps I can take to keep myself ready for what life brings:
- Pray. Talk to God, and listen for Him to speak. Many times that means I need to be quiet and often it leads me to journal.
- Read and study my Bible. There’s something new every time I open it. It’s up to me to open it often.
- Have times of both private and corporate worship. God wired me so that music is my heart language. It is absolutely essential for me to be hearing or making music that is God-honoring on a regular basis.
- Obey God, particularly when I feel Him urging me to reach out to someone or to serve in a particular way.
- Love God and love my neighbor. Those commands are woven all through the Bible. We don’t have to doubt whether or not these are His will.
- Have regular fellowship with fellow believers. For me, this means being plugged into a local church. I NEED my brothers and sisters in Christ. A hummingbird may make his epic journey alone, but I need people beside me as I face the challenges of life. I crave their encouragement, and I believe it’s my privilege to give encouragement in return.
We don’t usually have advance notice when an obstacle rears its head, when a diagnosis rocks our world, when an unexpected life event changes everything. It’s important to stay ready — to stay fueled up.
The Message paraphrase of 1 Timothy 4:6-10 reads this way:
” Exercise daily in God–no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.”
And, of course, we can’t leave the subject of birds without looking at Matthew 6:26:
“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?” (NIV)