By Chuck Lawless
We preachers tend to find sermon illustrations in almost anything, and this post reflects nothing different. Because I’m a preacher at heart, my mind is always thinking about ways to illustrate biblical truth.
Early this morning, I heard a news report about songbirds seemingly singing more loudly during these days of the COVID-19 threat. That story caught my attention because I’m a birdwatcher. I’m continually amazed by God’s creative power evident in the colorful feathers and melodic voices of birds.
So, I found the story fascinating enough that I checked it out. Apparently, the birds are seeming to sing more loudly because the ambient noise of a busy, deafening population is currently so much lessened. Because we’re quieter, we can more clearly hear God’s creation sing. Here are my further thoughts:
- It’s good for us to face a situation that requires us to open more widely our listening ears. I mean this statement literally in the sense that we can indeed better hear creation around us. I also mean it figuratively, though, trusting that this current scenario is pushing us to listen more closely to God’s Word, His Spirit, and His people. We need to quiet our hearts, listen, and learn.
- We need to slow down enough to see God’s glory in creation. I enjoy hiking and camping, but I don’t always take time to see God’s creative power in the world around me. These unusual days, though, have pushed me outside and have caused me to turn my eyes and ears to God and His works even more. Just looking around helps us see God’s glory.
- Creation may sing of God’s glory, but it’s our job to tell the story of God’s glory in Christ. The rocks can cry out, but proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth is our responsibility. Nothing short of non-believers learning this story and responding in faith and repentance will restore their relationship with their Creator – and we’re privileged to tell that story.
- We must at least ask what kind of “noise” we believers contribute to the world around us. I pray it’s the good noise of the Gospel resounding among the nations, but I fear it’s more often the bad noise of conflict, division, arrogance, hypocrisy, and personal kingdom-building. That kind of noise makes it more difficult for non-believers to hear the Gospel message when we do speak it.
- It’s important that we sing God’s praises even in these tough days … perhaps especially in these days. The world takes note of the transforming power of the Gospel not so much when we praise God while standing on the mountaintop, but when we can sing from the valley. My prayer is that the choir voices we’re hearing via the Internet today will continue to sing even more loudly after this crisis is over. We need to out-sing the birds.
Here’s my suggestion today: no matter who’s listening, let God’s praises rise from your lips all day long!