It had been a long time since I last owned a bird feeder. For the past three years, my grandson and I have enjoyed watching the birds (and an occasional squirrel, including “Stumpy”, the tail-less one) visit the feeder at my daughter’s house. I’ve also delighted in helping a friend fill his many bird feeders, anticipating the flurry of activity that’s sure to follow. So, I decided I wanted one. My dad granted my wish and gave me a feeder for Christmas.
Not really knowing what to buy in terms of food, I selected a bag of Southern Regional Blend. The tag line on the bag said “Blended to attract Southern Songbirds” while another statement promised “25% sunflower plus safflower” seeds. A closer look at the ingredients list revealed millet to be the predominant ingredient, while a chart on the back indicated this particular blend would be eaten, and presumably enjoyed, by a range of birds common to our area, including cardinals, chickadees, and titmice.
I chose a location for the feeder where I could keep an eye on it from two key vantage points: the window above the kitchen sink and my seat at the table. I filled the feeder and awaited the birds’ arrival with joyful expectancy. It took a couple of days for them to notice the new food source, but one morning a red-headed woodpecker arrived, followed by several tiny chickadees and some titmice.
I mentioned my new-found hobby to my fellow bird-feeding friend who promptly shared some of his stash of the birds’ favorite food: black oil sunflower seed. I’ve gradually transitioned the contents of the feeder from the original blend until it now contains only that delicacy. The changeover along with colder weather and the depletion of their natural food sources has led to increased activity around the feeder. There’s also a broader variety of birds partaking of the feast, as several kinds of finches and sparrows as well as cardinals, doves and juncos have joined the species that originally frequented the feeder.
As I’ve watched the birds consume the food I provide for them, I’ve been reminded of the spiritual nourishment available to us. Just like the different components in the blend of seeds I originally purchased, there are myriad types of books to fortify us for our spiritual journey. Some in the self-help genre are little more than “filler”, like the millet, while devotionals and study guides written by learned theologians offer more nutritious fare.
But one Book surpasses them all. When tempted by Satan in the wilderness to turn stones into bread, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) As the black oil sunflower seed is highly favored by the birds, so should the Bible, the inspired Word of God, be our preferred source of spiritual sustenance. May we partake frequently of the feast He has so graciously provided.