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Survival of the Insistent

Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”~ Matthew 20:15-16

In a perfect world, no one goes hungry. Apparently, birds missed the memo calling for a perfect world. Surviving from nestling to fledgling is not a guarantee. Food and the efforts of the parent birds are limited resources, that if distributed precisely evenly, would not mean that all in the nest survive. In fact, it is likely just the opposite. Thus it becomes a story of the survival of the fittest. In the case of baby birds, that means the most insistent. The bird with the loudest squawking gets the most attention. Becoming the best fed means growing the fastest, having the largest mouth, meaning the easiest target among your siblings for receive food. It may be wrong to call this cruel, but it is a harsh reality.

When we humans attempt to behave this way with resources, we are rightfully judged as being cruel. With a longer and wider vision than simply this season and this nest, we ought to know that a little less for the one already doing well means perhaps enough for the one who is suffering. Too often, we find ways to justify the ways the insistent end up with the biggest slice of the pie. As we watch the rich get richer and poor get poorer, how can we suggest that prosperity and wealth are sign of God’s blessing? That implies (not so subtly) that poverty is a curse, and thus something somehow brought on themselves. If only that runt in the nest would be louder, bolder, more insistent, then they, too would be blessed by the parents. But when you haven’t been getting enough nourishment, you don’t have the strength to fight for more. In that environment, your fate is sealed.

Perhaps that is why Jesus insisted that there was a different world than the cruel one we often experience. That world is already here if we have the insight to notice it. We experience this heavenly world when we model the kindness of the Creator by giving to all according to need, realizing that there can be no justice without generosity. Sometimes, the most fair result is that the last will be first, and the first will be last.

Prayer: Mother Hen, gather us poor chicks under your wing. Amen


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