Time and again I’ve sat near the seashore and watched the scene unfold, and this time was no different.
Diligent Little Plover
A small flock of sand plovers glided low over the sand before us, landed within several feet of each other and proceeded to begin foraging through the sand in between waves flooding the sand beneath their fast moving feet.
I watched one in particular which, as soon as a wave receded, would scurry out, begin foraging for food and work it’s way back in, hurried along by the next wave coming behind. It repeatedly stuck its beak into the saturated sand feeling around for something to snack on; quickly and diligently, only stopping briefly to watch for any sign of danger, gradually working it’s way up the beach.
Then, it took to the air, flew back down the beach, landing close to where it started from and begin the whole process again. It did this several times, and I was amazed at this little bird’s pragmatic approach to its day… to survival. Being a nice day, there were no storms on the horizon nor any imminent danger… so all it needed to occupy itself with was finding food.
It also reminded me of something else.
I’d recently read the following verse in Jeremiah 10:23-24
(23) Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: (24) But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercises lovingkindness, judgement and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
We may be wise, mighty or rich… but that is of little eternal value. We shouldn’t rely on them. If we’re going to be proud of anything, be proud of these two things:
- that we know and understand God (no small feat)
- that this God we know and understand exercises lovingkindness, judgement and righteousness (not only THAT… he gives us a clue…) he delights in these things.
Do we want God to take pleasure in us? If so, I must seek to cultivate, in my life, things that He delights in.
- Lovingkindness – is exercised toward those around me. If I will cultivate this, then relationally my life will be richer and more simple.
- Judgement – is first and foremost exercised toward myself. If I will cultivate this, then my life will better reflect the gospel that I profess.
- Righteousness – is exercised toward God, but should also be visible to others. If I will cultivate this, then spiritually, my relationship with God will be rich and meaningful.
Principles are what drive rules and or behaviour, not vice-versa. Principle are overarching and rules specific to particular scenarios. The Old Testament shows us quite clearly that long lists of rules make life more complicated and are, in fact, impossible to keep flawlessly.
Jeremiah relayed to God’s people 3 simple principles in this passage. If I will concentrate on them… life really will become simpler as I won’t have the time or energy to get caught up in any number of other distractions.
My observation of the diligent plover also reminded me of John 9:4
(4) I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
He went up and down the shoreline undistracted from his task of finding food, what he needed for survival.
What do we need to do to survive? We need to not get caught up in the daily distractions; things unnecessary. We need to cultivate things in our life that will cause the Lord to take pleasure in us.
Lord, let that characterize our preparations for and our time in France.