Mar
30

Hummingbirds and Grace — Devotional

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I have always been fascinated by hummingbirds. I am amazed at their ability to hover. They are lightning fast in their movements. And of course, they are so tiny and beautiful. Recently I went to a friend’s house and entered hummingbird heaven. They had a dozen or so feeders and what seemed like hundreds of hummingbirds. They were buzzing the feeders like bees around a hive. I asked my friend questions about his feeders and returned home to give it a try myself. That was about two weeks ago.

Now our yard is beginning to buzz with hummingbirds. I started with one feeder. However, I noticed that one little hummingbird had taken control of the whole feeder. I witnessed many times another hummingbird trying to swoop in and get a good drink of nectar only to be chased away by the self-appointed guardian of the stash. I did not realize these little fellows were so territorial. I thought, "There’s more nectar in that feeder than that one little bird could drink in a year." Yet, he refused to share out of the abundance he discovered. Can you imagine what all the birds were thinking? They had never discovered a "flower" with so much nectar. It was an endless supply of the good stuff. But day after day, the little guardian stood his post.

I found myself feeling sorry for the other birds that tried to get a drink and couldn’t because of the nectar cop. I decided I would buy more feeders, so yesterday, Elliott (my 15 yr.old) and I went to Lowe’s to buy a couple of more feeders. I was excited to see what would happen.

I placed one of the new feeders about 20 feet away from the existing feeder. The other one I placed on the opposite side of the house right outside my study window where I am sitting typing this blog. Let me testify….

Right now as I type I look to my right directly out the window less than eight feet from where I sit and I can see Sergeant number two. Sure enough, he is sitting there and I have already seen him chase other thirsty members of the hummingbird community away from his feeder. Obviously, he has decided that this side of the house is his. He is a beautiful little bird just sitting there chasing away the competition and flying down periodically to enjoy a big swallow of the good stuff. He actually has the fancy feeder complete with a place to perch while you drink. It is the Hilton for Hummingbirds. It is all his….until….another bird proves it can’t be pushed around shows up and takes over his perch.

Now back to the other side of the house….

Things really got interesting when I placed the other new feeder 20 feet away from the original one. I thought I could keep them close enough together to watch both of them easily. I thought maybe since Sergeant number one had his own feeder he would leave the other one unguarded.

Boy, was I wrong!

 He quickly demonstrated that he could keep all the other would be nectar seekers away from both feeders. I moved it farther away…..He proved he could still go the distance. Though it required a lot of energy, he was still doing a pretty good job of keeping both feeders to himself. However, he was unable to have much perch time. He was extremely busy keeping other hummingbirds from getting a drink. Occasionally, while he was chasing birds away from feeder two, one of the other sneaky feathered friends would buzz by feeder one and steal a drink. I found myself cheering for these birds who were able to finally taste the sweet nectar for themselves.

Then I decided I would really put Sergeant one to the test. I moved the new feeder about 60 feet away. He continued to try to keep his thirsty neighbors away, but it was too big a job for such a little guy to handle. Finally, he flew back to his original post and sat with his feathered back to the other feeder, as if to say, "If they are going to drink, I don’t have to watch!" I was proud that I had put him in his place.

But the action was not over. As a matter of fact, things were really heating up now….

What followed was an amazing sight. In a few moments there were at least a dozen hummingbirds all feeding from the four portholes on the feeder. I don’t know where they had come from. I had not seen them before, but obviously they were close by. It was as if they were just waiting in the shadows for one of those feeders to be freed up from Mr. Nectar Monopolizer.

In and out, back and forth, up and down….they all enjoyed the sweet nectar. You could tell that a few of them were trying to display some dominance, but it was to no avail. There was plenty for all of them and all of them were drinking away. I called Mikki to the window to watch it with me. We were astonished by what we saw. It was such a beautiful sight. Plenty of nectar for everybody!

So I have three feeders. Two have been taken over. One is still free for everyone. Don’t know how long, but for now, I am sure they feel like they have found hummingbird heaven.

What has this to do with grace? You can easily do the math on this one.

We all are like one of those birds.
There is plenty of grace for everyone.
People are hungry for grace.
Often we fight to keep others from getting it.
People flock where grace is freely given to all.
It often takes more energy to guard a feeder than it does to manage a crowd where everybody can drink.
We should all realize God will always keep the feeders full.

When it comes to grace, give and it shall be given is the Divine order of the day. One struggle is keeping a feeder free from the birds that chase other birds away. The greater struggle is not becoming that bird!

Addendum–I had just published this blog when I looked back out at the feeder. The yard was covered with black birds. They had converged upon our yard. There were hundreds and hundreds of them. Of course, the little hummingbird had left his post. We have lived here over four years and I have never witnessed this in our yard. Other places, yes, but not here like this. Coincidence? Or is there a message in it? Our true battle is not with other hummingbirds. It is with the "blackbirds" that will not be satisfied until there are no feeding places or feeders or nectar or even hummingbirds. The enemy of our souls cannot stand for us to have access to grace.

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