Parrots have been equipped with a wonderful tool called a beak. And we can do all kinds of things with it, -some good, some bad and some downright wicked! A beak means that we can gnaw through twigs and branches and make nest holes in trees. And it also allows us to make some finishing touches to any furniture around the house. A parrot’s beak can best be described as a set of loppers, a chain saw, a chisel and a nail-puller all in one.
Humans have a poor apology for a beak called a nose which isn’t really good for anything except getting a cold. So they have to make some special tools of their own. And I’d like to tell you the story of one such human who used his artificial tools to carve some wood.
A rather plain and ordinary human lived in a cul-de-sac. And one day, he took delivery of a huge piece of solid wood. In fact it was so heavy that he had to get a neighbour to help him shift it off his driveway and into his garage. Well, once the wood was inside, the human set to work on it. In fact, he was in his garage for the best part of a month, only emerging to eat and sleep. Finally when the month was up, he flung open his garage doors and lifted out an incredible life-sized carving of a deer. And it looked absolutely perfect! Soon his neighbours were all gathering around in admiration and they asked him: “How did you manage to make it look so realistic?” To which the human modestly replied: “Well, I just kept chipping away at everything that didn’t look like a deer!”
And you know, there’s a message here for all of us to take on board. Because as practicing Christians, we’re all meant to keep chipping away at our flaws and our faults and everything else that causes us to be imperfect in the eyes of God. Our journey through life is all about shaping and moulding us in preparation for Heaven. We’ll never end up being a 100% perfect, but we can still get rid of some of our rough edges and sharp splinters if we all keep working at it. And who knows, something beautiful may emerge from the solid block that was once you!
“We know God less by contemplation than by emulation. The choice is not between “faith” and “deeds,” for it is by our deeds that we express our faith and make it real in the life of others and the world.”
(Rabbi Sacks: 1948-2020: Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth between 1991 and 2013).
“…and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(Ephesians 4: 24).
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”