And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…. – Hebrews 10:24
This is a follow-up devotion on how God provides lessons for His Church through geese. You can read the first part here.
From 1997-2006 I lived in central Wisconsin on the edge of the Horicon Marsh.
This time of year – early autumn – is a very active time for the marsh. Geese by the thousands migrating south from Canada make a stop in the Horicon Marsh.
When geese are flying, they fly in a “V” shaped formation because it makes it easier for them to fly. It has to do with aerodynamics and wind-resistance and lots of other things I don’t understand very well.
Another aspect of geese migration is that they practice “no goose left behind.”
This is from the World Animal Foundation’s “Goose Fact Sheet”:
Geese have very strong affections for others in their group (known as a gaggle). If one in the gaggle gets sick, wounded, or shot, a couple of others may drop out of formation and follow the ailing goose down to help and protect him. They try to stay with the disabled goose until he dies or is able to fly again, then they catch up with the group or launch out with another formation.
This is also a characteristic of the Christian Church.
God the Holy Spirit calls people together into groups that we call “congregations.” Like geese, we travel on a journey encouraging each other.
When someone in the church gets tired, sick, or injured, the rest of the congregation rallies around them to encourage them, pray for them, and help them get their strength back or be restored to health.
This has been a characteristic of the Christian Church from the very beginning. In the Book of Acts, the Apostles formed the ministry group called “deacons” to be in charge of the food distribution to widows (see Acts 6:1-7).
And later, the Epistle writer James wrote:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27
The Church is a family and we are called on to encourage one another and, as the writer to the Hebrews says, stir up one other to love and good works.
The reason for this is because this is exactly what God did for us in Christ! We were injured – fatally injured – by sin. There was no hope for us. So Jesus Christ came. Not to sit with us until we got better, but sacrificed Himself on the cross to remove that which fatally injured us. His death and resurrection forgives our sins and gives us new strength!
Like geese, who will rally around a tired or injured goose, so the Church rallies around a tired or injured congregation family member.
This is something I hope you will remember the next time you see the majestic “V” formation of geese in the sky this autumn!
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