Chasing Sparrows

Written by Steve Ballinger. Posted in Devotions

Chasing Sparrows

“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die . . .”
-Romans 8:13-

Over the years, my wife and I have had many visitors in our home, not just the two legged kind, but also the four legged kind; such as possums, raccoons, foxes and skunks.

Let me share with you about one of those uninvited guests. It had two legs and a set of wings. It was a sparrow-hawk that had flown down our chimney and become trapped in our fireplace, just above the damper assembly. We were able to hear the bird, as its wings frantically fluttered unsuccessfully in an attempt to fly up and out of the fireplace. Knowing this was an opportunity for yours truly to show the macho side of me to my wife, I immediately went to the rescue. After the delicate operation of freeing the hawk from the fireplace and pulling it into our house, I was able to ever-so-gently dust off the soot and then carry it outside in order to set it free. What a good feeling it was to be able to help a bird in need.

Upon re-entering our home, our ears began to detect another noise coming from the fireplace. As I peered up the chimney, I noticed it was the sparrow that the sparrow-hawk had chased down the chimney. That hawk was so concerned with satisfying its own fleshly appetite, that it paid no attention to what lie ahead. It was so focused on one little sparrow, that it lost sight of everything else. In its attempt to pursue its dinner, it almost became dinner. Its pursuit almost led to its own demise. The hunter almost became the game.

What if this sparrow-hawk had made no noise in that chimney and I had decided later to build a fire in the fireplace that evening? Roast hawk! What if I had heard its noise, saw that it was trapped, yet, ignored its cry of help, and made no effort to reach out and save it? Dead hawk!

Here’s my point in this story: You and I were once very much like that hawk. We were chasing after our sparrows; alcohol, drugs, sex, money, possessions, fame, etc. Whatever would satisfy our immediate craving was all we were looking for. We were so focused on that one thing we thought would bring us pleasure, that we lost sight of everything around us. Nothing else seemed to matter. And where was it leading us? It was leading us to the chimney of death. The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

We began frantically fluttering our wings, trying to save ourselves, all to no avail. When God heard our cry, He didn’t light a fire under us and watch us roast. He didn’t ignore us by turning His back on us. Instead, He came to us in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ, reached out His nail pierced hands saying, “Come to Me! Let Me dust you off. Let Me clean you up. Let Me set you free!”

“Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”
-John 8:36-

What a blessing it is to be set free,

Chaplain Steve

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