Friday, February 15, 2008

An Oystercatcher and a Pearl

We saw this funny little creature flying about as we sat eating at a sea-side restaurant on Hilton Head Island. Then I saw it, the bird flew up into the air and dropped an oyster to the rocky beach below. It quickly swooped down and gobbled up the contents of the cracked shells. Right away I knew what type of sea bird this was - it was an Oystercatcher. I had learned about these birds in a biology class.

Oystercatchers pick their oysters very carefully. They do not pick little ones because the tiny shells are too difficult to break. By the time the birds fly high enough for the shells to break, it is likely that another bird will slyly dive down and steal the food before the oystercatcher can reach it. It is important that they are patient and wait for the oysters to grow to just the right size.

They do not pick big oysters because they break at about the same height as the medium ones, but are much heavier to carry. By the time it's all said and done, the smart sea birds end up getting the greatest amount of calories for the least amount of effort by searching for the medium-sized oysters. Greediness certainly does not pay off.

It's amazing how God makes all of his animals in such unique ways, with just the abilities they need to survive. And it's amazing how much we can learn from them. It is important that we are persistent, just like the little oystercatchers. We must make sure we search for just the right oyster. We cannot lazily pick the little ones but must be patient for maturation. We must not be greedy either, picking what looks the best (in the worlds eyes), striving to get ahead. Rather, we must seek the good things that God has for us. We must be patient for Him.

This kind of reminds me of the parable of the pearl of great price:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
~Matthew 13:45-46

The merchant took the time to look for the right pearl. He would not settle for lesser pearls, and he did not want pearls that may have been bigger, but were indeed less valuable in the end. He gave his all for what he knew would ultimately be the greatest gain.

Don't settle for less, and don't give up too soon. Give your all for that one special pearl.

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