For the past six months or so, my bride and I have been observing a very interesting happening in our neighborhood. It is called “life”!
Now, normally we have our share of this thing called life, and daily we watch life “happen”, as it were, but that’s not what I’m talking about. No, the life that has been going on not far from our front door revolves around eagles – bald eagles!
One of the previously unforeseen benefits of the location of our new home is that nearby, intertwining through four different golf courses over the span of about three miles, is a paved trail. This trail is known by its formal name, which is a “multi-modal path.” It is called “multi-modal” because it is accessible to walkers and runners, bikers, and golf carts – but no cars!
This path extends for almost three miles and, for those who use it, provides a shortcut to various shopping and recreational activity centers in our area. Running adjacent to and alongside of this path for almost the total distance are several holes which form parts of four different golf courses. Walking that path regularly is really quite an enjoyable pastime.
One characteristic of this multi-modal path that catches one’s attention almost immediately is that it follows the course of a trail of high power lines which transfers power from one end of our community to the other. The trail generally follows right underneath those power lines and in and around their associated towers along the way.
It was not long after we moved here that we noticed that every day under and around one of those towers a crowd of people would often gather. Some walkers, some runners, some just out in their golf carts taking a ride – but they were all stopped under one particular tower and were looking up.
So we joined them. There, on one of the metal beams hanging out over the path, was a huge bird’s nest! And perched on the nest was a mama bald eagle! The daddy bald eagle was also there, but perched much higher on the tower, like a guard sentry watching out for his family.
Over the next few months, while watching these birds in and around this nest high above the ground on this electrical tower, we were amazed – and encouraged – by the two baby eagles that hatched and gradually began to grow.
Over time these two eagle “kids” began to spread their wings and we watched as the parents stayed close and “helped” them to become more independent. We saw them learn to fly, then learn to hunt for food, and then eventually “fly the coop” on their own.
The parents seemed to over time give the young eagles more space, moving from the nest tower to adjacent towers along our path.
In watching these birds in their nest just a short distance away from our home, it is interesting to note that, for the most part, they were not watching us. They were not interested in who we were or what we were doing. Their only concern was for their mom and dad!
Most of the time, until the little ones had left the nest, the parent eagles were somewhere close by – on the edge of the nest, or above the nest on the same tower, or one very close by.
Call me bird brain if you will, but we can learn something from those baby birds. They know, by instinct I’m sure, where to keep their eyes. They know who to look to for their food and for help in time of need. They keep their eyes on Mom Eagle and Dad Eagle, and call to them for help.
If outside forces (or people) ever get too close, one of the parents would come screeching in, protesting with all their might, and trying to protect the little ones as best they could.
You know, that’s the way we should be. But more often than not, we just simply try to do it all on our own, and then wonder why we tend to fail when we do!
The Scriptures give us a clue in Hebrews 12:1-2: “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and … let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith …”
To “fix our eyes on” something means to stare at, to concentrate fully on, and in a greater sense, to fully rely upon. We are in this race called life and we’re trying to run it on our own. Our gaze, our concentration, our vision, is usually on nothing but ourselves, and our own strength, our own creativity and ingenuity!
And while that may work for a while, the long-term success comes when we rely on Christ, on His wisdom, on His strength, on His power!
“My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!” (Philippians 4:19)
Therefore, this week, take a lesson from the birds, and be a bird brain — keep your eyes on Jesus!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette and the News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.