Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Duck Dynasty - Lenten Journey Day 25 Devotional - April 2, 2014

My new friends, Melvin (left) and Mallory (right) taking a stroll.

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” - Philippians 4:6

I probably led you on a bit with that title.  I’ve never seen the show.  In fact, I just learned about it this weekend; but I do live in an area where ducks are fairly common and when that is the case, they run the show.

Beautiful creatures, but I have mixed emotions about ducks; especially on days like today.  I was on my way out to run a few errands when two Mallards came waddling in front of my car.  They didn’t even flinch as the headlights of my car, a car several times their size, stared them down.  They took their time, apparently indifferent to my schedule that they were now delaying.  If I was in a rush, that was my problem, not theirs.

So, I patiently waited.   And then, as if to teach me a little more patience, they doubled-back on their path waddling in front of my car again to their original spot.  I chuckled at their clumsy boldness; how unruffled they seemed.  It reminded me of a short poem I keep on my bookshelf that I picked up at the Mission San Juan Capistrano.  It reads: 
Said the Robin to the Sparrow
"I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so."

Said the Sparrow to the Robin
"Friend I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me."
--Elizabeth Chaney - 1859

But we do have a Father that cares for us, don’t we?

My forced observation turned into quiet admiration as I put my car in park and watched the ease and peace of an untroubled life.  Fowl have this in common; the Word even uses them as an example for us to follow:

Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?” – Matthew 6:26

Simply put, they don’t sweat the small stuff – they’re not designed to.  You’ve probably heard the saying, “like water off a duck’s back”; that’s both literally and metaphorically true.  In the physical sense, their outer feathers are coated which causes water to bead off and fall away.  But, as I watched my feathery fowl friends today, they seemed “waterproof” from the inside-out.  They didn’t look the least bit stressed!  Even when confronted with what should have intimidated them, they remained undaunted by the situation.

Humans?  Wow, what doesn’t ruffle our feathers?!?  Traffic, finances, food, family, long lines at Target, a barista forgetting to put an extra shot of espresso in our latte-- pretty much anything that we can’t control.  We freak out.  Way too much gets under our skin.

But God makes it clear, we are not to get entangled by stress and worry about the small things.  And you want to know something?  Whether you want to believe it or not, they are ALL small things.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” – Matthew 6:25

Your life – that’s all-encompassing.  That pretty much leaves nothing for us to worry about.  When Martha was preoccupied with an anxious life, Jesus told her “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).  What was that one thing?  Listening to Jesus.

So take a lesson from Melvin and Mallory (yes, I named the two Mallards I met today) and Mary.  Learn to let things roll off your back and refuse to let circumstances intimidate you.   Focus on Jesus.  Coat your “feathers” with God’s promises and grace.  When you feel yourself getting ruffled, just remind yourself “the LORD will work out his plans for my life” Psalms 138:8.  Enjoy the journey and don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Let’s pray:  Father God, in 1 Peter 5:7, it says for us to “cast all our cares on You because you care for us.”  You have been such a loving and faithful Father.  Not once have You ever left me or forsaken me.  Today is no exception.  You don’t ask me to have all the answers, but You do ask for my surrender.  So, in faith, I will give all the stresses of this life over to you, big or small.  May Your peace, rest, reign, and rule in my heart today and always.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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