Loving the Least

But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.
Matthew 10:29 NLT

The peeping alerted me that something was amiss.

A mother bluebird had hatched several nestlings in a birdhouse outside my office window. As I worked, I enjoyed hearing their peeps as the mother and father bird made numerous trips to feed their young.

On one particular day, the peeping was different. I looked outside, thinking the babies had flown the coup. And they had—expect for one who languished on the cement porch. I quickly scooped up the hatchling and returned it to the nest. But mom and dad never returned. I saw them flitting around in the yard, but they ignored the peeps of the abandoned baby. Though I tried feeding it insects, it was dead when I arrived for work the next day.

In warning His followers about the persecution on their horizon, Jesus reminded them that not even a sparrow falls without His knowledge. He loves the least. I thought of the verse when I opened the birdhouse and saw the dead baby. My heart broke as I realized sin was the reason this scenario had gone awry. God didn’t want the nestling to die.

Loving the least is rarely easy. I thought of the Andy Griffith episode where Andy’s son, Opie, adopted a nest full of baby birds and nurtured them until they were ready to fly. His attempt succeeded; mine failed. But at least I made the effort.

Though animals aren’t created in the likeness of God as people are—and though they don’t have immortal souls as humans do, they are still a part of God’s creation which He expects us to care for. Many years ago, God entrusted Adam and Eve with the care of His creation. His instructions to them have been passed to all earthly inhabitants.

But loving the least extends beyond animals and the environment to people. We are God’s highest creation, made in His image. It may be easier to hobnob with those in places of importance who can scratch our back in return, but God wants us to love the least too. Those in dire straits. Those who can’t fend for themselves. Those to whom life has handed a tough hand of cards.

Learn to love the least—not just those who can help you in return.

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