“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trials (or struggles) which are to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.” — 1 Peter 4:12,13
Have you ever heard of a creature called the DoDo Bird? You probably have heard or seen the name, but as with most of us, the chances are you discarded it as the invention of some comic strip artist or some cartoon character.
But the DoDo Bird really did exist. It was a species of rather large, and very clumsy birds that for centuries inhabited an island off the coast of Africa. They lived in a unique and truly exotic environment. Their island home was devoid of humans and predators. Food supply was abundant and within easy reach from the ground. All the DoDo Bird had to do all day long was to walk around, unchallenged, and eat.
There is an old adage I heard as a young boy that applies to just about everything involving physical activity: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!” For the DoDo Bird, this proverb proved to be a painful and permanent reality. In the course of time, their wing muscles shrank and feathers grew shorter from lack of use. Once sharp, piercing beaks and claws were now short and dull. And then, the inevitable happened … man came to the island. The abundance of DoDo Birds caught their eye, and after discovering this strange creature to be a delicious dish, men began capturing and shipping them back to the mainland as gourmet food. Unable to fly, and all their natural defenses gone, the DoDo Bird was unable to escape or defend itself, and became totally extinct.
It seems that in our modern, computer- driven society, the smarter we think we are, the dumber we are likely to turn out to be. Observe God’s magnificent creation, the human body. It is beautifully equipped to perform … to do … to be active physically and mentally. God intended everything about us to be functional on a continuing basis. But in spite of this truth, one of the greatest problems we face today is how to counteract the influence of people who are determined and dedicated to the pursuit of luxury, with the deliberate goal of avoiding effort. America developed through struggles, and when progress came in any area it was because problems were faced.
The same principle applies to our Christian walk. We should never look upon the blessings of life with a flippant attitude, but be continually thankful to our God. Never wait until we become physically ill, or find our back against the wall in some other way, to run to God and try to appropriate His power to meet our urgent need of the moment. We must continually work at enriching our relationship with Him – daily touching Him in serious prayer and feeding on His Holy Word, welcoming and responding to the Holy Spirit’s direction in every detail of our daily lives. That, too, is struggle beloved. But unless we flex our spiritual wings and feet and tongues with that kind of dedication, we stand in danger of experiencing the fate of the DoDo Bird. And spiritual extinction is far more frightening.
“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from thy sight. Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to their whole body!” (Proverbs 4:20-24).
public domain image courtesy of http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=public+domain+images+of+dodo+bird