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Chaplain's Corner: Learn and apply a lesson from the hummingbirds

By Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Greg Thogmartin | USARAK Deputy Command Chaplain | April 7, 2015


The "Chaplain's Corner" offers perspectives to enhance spiritual/religious resiliency in support of Air Force and Army Comprehensive Fitness programs.

Comments regarding specific beliefs, practices, or behaviors are strictly those of the author and do not convey  endorsement by the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, the Army, the Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or the 673d Air Base Wing.

Last summer I visited some friends in the Missouri Ozarks and we enjoyed watching the hummingbirds come and go from the feeder near their porch.  It was a fascinating time as those delicate creatures buzzed around the yard. There were flashes of color and bursts of speed. Then, they would sit on the perches at the feeder and guzzle sugar water or "hummingbird nectar" for all they were worth.

We talked about these little creatures. We marveled at their colors, their speed, and their ability to hover. We noted that one seemed to be especially selfish and wouldn't let the others sip nectar when it was on the perch. We were amazed at how much of the sugar water they appeared to be sucking down. They had voracious appetites.

As we discussed their diet - the lady of the house made the observation that some folks have substituted "Splenda" or other diet sweeteners for sugar in making a homemade formula for the hummingbirds. Although they meant well, the tasty results were ultimately disastrous for the little birds. The mixture tasted sweet. They drank in abundance. But, devoid of calories, the diet-sweetener concoctions could not provide the high-energy hummingbirds require to survive.

Later that evening reflecting back on the show the hummingbirds put on, I began to think about folks like us and the appetites we have. We all need certain things to make us fit or healthy. We know that is true about our diet (the foods we eat, the beverages we drink). We know too that some of the things we enjoy don't always satisfy as they have promised or promote our ongoing health.

What is true physically is also true spiritually. It is easy to accept substitutes that seem "tasty" but don't deliver toward our spiritual health and fitness. At the same time, it can be quite easy to neglect those things that do lead to spiritual health and vitality. In the midst of the activities that go with spring and the summer that will soon be upon us it is imperative that we do not allow ourselves to forget to take time for things that build us up. Things like prayer, reading scripture, worship, time spent in fellowship, and time spent serving others. Beware of cheap substitutes that don't deliver - can't deliver.  

May you be wise to choose the things that truly satisfy.