A Rainy Day and a 9-Year-Old Boy
It was a cloudy day, threatening rain, a day when there really wasn’t much to do unless you could occupy yourself with something inside your dwelling. On this particular day a nine-year-old boy named David sat looking out the window of his home in a small town in the Midwest. Little did he know, at this point in time, that he was about to experience one of the great lessons in his life. Just then, out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of something outdoors. Something of a brilliant color was moving, not in clear view and just under the edge of a bush. It moved back and forth as if it were unsure which way to go.
A Wonderful Discovery
Unsure of what he saw, this always curious boy jumped up from his chair and dashed outside to see this strange occurrence. What he found to his amazement was a somewhat large tropical bird. Approaching slowly, so as not to frighten this beautiful bird, the boy found to his amazement that the bird did not flee, but instead seemed to welcome his touch as David reached down and picked up his newly found friend. The young boy was delighted as the bird laid his head over to the side as if to illustrate his desire for further companionship.
Carrying his newly found treasure to his mother, he excitedly showed her his most wonderful find. They were both amazed at the beauty of this bird. They were even more amazed by its submissiveness to being held and hand fed. As they continued to caress this feathered creature the discussion turned to what kind of bird it might be, and what would be needed to continue to care for it. It was discovered through research, that it was a lovebird, according to the pet shop owner whom they had called. The owner of the pet shop congratulated the boy on his wonderful find. It was noted by the pet store owner that it was highly unusual for one lone lovebird to be docile, but the boy and his mother thought (with a little wishful thinking mixed in) that it was just a case of this bird being different from the norm. For you see, long-range plans were being made to keep this beautiful bird and to continue to enjoy its company.
The boy and his mom at this point in time were being convinced that they had a wonderful treasure to enjoy. The two of them began to make plans. As the event unfolded, plans were made to purchase supplies that would be needed to care for this beautiful creature. Perhaps a secondhand cage could be found and maybe some bird food on sale. But whatever the case, this bird would not have to be in fear of living in the outdoors with predators all around. This bird would be safe and cared for, having all of its needs met as well as being protected from the hostile world outside. In these few hours since the bird had been brought in to the house it seemed to the boy and his mother that all was well. After all, the bird was submissive to being handled, fed, and seemed quite content to be cared for by these two who were nurturing it.
A Change in Nature?
But then something strange and unexpected happened! While David stroked the bird as he had been doing off and on all day, suddenly and unprovoked this wonderful new friend bit this boy. The very boy who just a few hours before had rescued it from its fearful condition. Though the boy had delivered the bird from the hostile and potentially harmful environment, the bird had chosen to bite him. Somewhat stunned the young boy thought to himself – did I rub too hard, perhaps I touched a tender spot? Oh well, he thought, it was probably a single incident, a fluke. But no, over the next hour this bird that had been so docile became more and more aggressive, biting and attempting to bite several times.
Not understanding why this had happened, another phone call was placed to the helpful pet store owner, this time to inquire what might be the reason for this change in behavior. Upon hearing of this dilemma that the mother and the boy were having, the owner explained that this bird is a species that requires a mate in order to have a passive nature. The man went on to say that without a mate it will become mean and very aggressive toward people. The pet store owner explained that the docile nature that David had experienced from the bird was not the bird’s true nature. Being docile was simply how the bird was reacting to being saved from his current problem. He then told David that the bird simply reverted back to its true nature once he thought himself safe from the hostile world outdoors.
So we see that once the bird had a full belly, once he felt safe from the danger, he simply reverted to who he really was, and his natural way of responding to his environment. The unchanged nature is the moral of this story and was a life lesson for the young boy involved. I know because that lesson has stuck with me these many years. When we begin the journey of being the bride of Christ, we unlike the bird, truly have a new nature.
When considering this event, four verses come to mind in sequence:
Jeremiah 13:23 – “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? If so then you may do good who are accustomed to do evil.”
John 3:6 – “That which is born of flesh is flesh: and that which is born of Spirit is Spirit.”
John 3:7 – “Marvel not that I said unto thee, you must born again.”
The final verse often quoted and often veiled by incomplete understanding of the depth of meaning is:
Galatians 2:20 – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”