Look at the Birds of the Air by Patrice Tsague

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Which of you by worrying can add a cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:26

by Patrice Tsague

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, man’s foundational needs are physiological. These needs – food, drink, and clothing – are the literal requirements for human survival. If they are not met, the human body cannot continue to survive. Although Maslow’s hierarchy is incomplete – in that it does not include man’s need for God – it does speak to those natural elements that cause man to worry and become anxious. Nothing creates anxiety and worry like the feeling that one will run out of food and natural provision.

This is why Jesus addresses this issue head-on during His Sermon on the Mount. He states in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say to you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” As if that were not enough, He continues in verse 26 to challenge us to look at the birds of the air and learn from them.

What can we learn from birds?

Jesus states, “For they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them.” Whoa, you mean birds do not work, yet our God feeds them? Now isn’t this a violation of God’s economic principles of sowing and reaping? The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in II Thessalonians 3:10b, that “If anyone will not work, neither should he eat.” God Himself states in Genesis 3:19a “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground.”

Why does God give birds preferential treatment? He does not. Jesus is teaching us about a law higher than the law of sowing and reaping-the law of sovereignty. The law of sovereignty is God’s complete authority and power over His entire universe. The way laws work is that any law can be overridden by a higher law. For instance, according to the law, it is illegal to drive past a red traffic light. However, if there is a policeman driving his car with his siren on, not only can he pass the red light, but if you are blocking his car, you must move to make way for him.

The law of sowing and reaping states that if a man will not work (sow), he shall not eat (reap). The law of sovereignty, however, states that God has authority and rule over the entire creation, and He will provide for anyone He chooses in any way He chooses. The lesson here is that if God can feed a non-working bird that is not made in His image and likeness, what about you and me, who not only are made in His image and likeness, but also work to bring Him glory?

Why did Jesus use this example? I imagine that He was ministering to people who were worried about their provision, not necessarily because they were not willing to work, but perhaps because they could not find jobs as a result of discrimination towards Jews in a Roman colony.

In their day, just like today, there was possibly limited job availability. Maybe there were people who had jobs, but who were not making enough money to meet their basic needs. As one of my friends puts it, they had more days in the month than they had money.  I am sure that there were businessmen in His midst who were unfairly and heavily taxed which impacted their profitability. Some may have been forced to close their businesses, and others may have faced low demand since customers themselves were economically challenged.

The questions the people must have asked Jesus were, “How will we feed ourselves and our families? How will we pay our workers and pay our expenses?” Jesus responded by saying, “Do not worry; do not be anxious; do not take the problem into your own hands. God has not forsaken you; man does not live by bread alone.

To illustrate His point, He pointed to the birds of the air. God, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, the Sustainer of life, the Creator of all things, the Faithful Wonder Himself feeds them. He is…

El Elyon – The Lord most high

El Shaddai – The God who is sufficient for the needs of His people

Jehovah Elohim – The Eternal Creator

El Olam – The Everlasting God

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord our Provider

Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our Peace

Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is present

Jehovah Rohi – The Lord our Shepherd

Jehovah Huseemu – The Lord our Maker

Jehovah Eloheenu – The Lord our God

… and He cares for them!

Now if God takes care of birds that do not work, what about you and me who are not only created in His image and likeness and whose difficulty is not as a result of slothfulness on our part or even our lack of a desire to work? Will God not take care of us in the midst of circumstances outside our control? Even if our circumstances are due to mistakes on our part, we serve a God who is merciful, kind, gentle, generous, forgiving, and who works all things “together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28.

How are you doing? Have you lost your job? Is revenue down? Are you worried about meeting your needs, meeting payroll, or paying the bills? Follow Jesus’ instructions:  look at the birds of the air and know that you have more value than they do.  My prayer for you is that, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19. Think about His goodness in the morning and thank Him for His faithfulness as you lay down at night. He will take care of you.

Copyright © 2010 Patrice Tsague ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.


Patrice Tsague, a gifted speaker, author, and entrepreneurship coach, is the Chief Servant Officer of Nehemiah Project International Ministries (NPIM). He thrives on equipping and empowering Christians to take dominion and fulfill God’s plan for their lives through biblically based, entrepreneurial training. NPIM offers a proprietary certificate business discipleship course called the “Biblical Entrepreneurship Certificate Program”. The program provides a strong mix of core business concepts and biblical principles. Some of the courses offered include Principles of Biblical Entrepreneurship (BE I), Practices of Biblical Entrepreneurship (BE II), and Planning a Kingdom Business (BE III). To learn more about how NPIM launches entrepreneurs into their God-designed destiny, please visit www.nehemiahproject.org.


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About Paul Wilson Jr.
Paul Wilson, Jr. is a "Dream Catalyst" and Marketplace Pastor for leaders and entrepreneurs. He is driven to lead people to unleash God’s potential in their lives through their purpose, passions, and professional skills. He equips leaders with creative, faith-based strategies to flourish spiritually and professionally, while operating from several multi-media platforms, including TV show host, inspirational speaker, and stimulating writer. Paul is the President of Kingdom Business University, which utilizes workshops, consulting, and coaching services to ignite Christian catalysts maximize their God-given mission in the marketplace. He is the author of the life purpose igniter “Dream B.I.G. in 3D: How to Pursue a Bold, Innovative God-Inspired Life!” He is also the host of Passion in Action, a motivational and educational faith-based Internet TV show for social entrepreneurs, business leaders, and community change agents. Contact us today to learn more about how he can help your business, church, or community to thrive on purpose!

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