Alongsider Briefings: Reflections of a Life Lived with God

Life is like an Art Gallery: Picture #3 – Look at the crows


“We seldom rise above the quality of the pictures that hang in the galleries of our minds,” writes author Warren Wiersbe. Our minds are full of pictures that have shaped our lives. One picture that’s hanging in my mind’s gallery features CROWS. Here’s the crows’ background.

I’ll be the first to admit it; sometimes I’m concerned about money. This doesn’t surprise Jesus since nearly one-fourth of his teaching is about money. Even we “faith” missionaries worry about finances. 

Early in our staff experience our monthly income would fluctuate widely. Financial “dry” spells happened when the income did not match our expenses. Dry spells often forced me to delay bill payments and run up our credit card. We regularly faced the challenge: could God provide? The answer showed up in some crows.

It was Monday morning, the bank account was empty, and bills were due. I was reading in the Gospel of Matthew that morning and this passage jumped off the page at me: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26, ESV).

God had tossed me a small lifeline of his faithfulness by picturing how he provided for birds. With this thought fresh in my mind, I walked out the front door of my home for my daily prayer walk. I turned at the end of the block and headed north on the street. Within 100 feet, the crows caught my attention.

A small flock of crows were gathered on the side of the street devouring a meal. As I came up to the birds I discovered that they were feasting on a box of White Castle hamburgers! Someone had pitched an entire box of sliders from their car and these birds were having a feast.

Now these crows did not have this breakfast scheduled. No one had purposefully planned to feed them at this time and in this way. They were enjoying an unexpected banquet from a generous God.

My mind jumped back to Matthew 6:26. Here was a living example of our heavenly father feeding His creation. Wasn’t I more important than those birds?! The pace of my prayer walk picked up as I thought about these birds. Would the Lord send us a box of sliders — or something equivalent — to feed our family of four?

You’re probably waiting for the provision punchline — the check that arrived the next day, the envelope of cash slid under the door, or a neighbor bringing us some food. None of this happened. But one thing did happen, our perspective changed. The Lord had tossed us a faith lifeline and it appeared in some crows eating White Castle hamburgers. This picture of crows has hung in my mind’s gallery for years.

Peggy and I have lived this crow-filled faith journey for nearly fifty years. I’ve never added up the total given to our ministry during five decades but it’s a lot! (Thank you donors). Like you, I’ve heard countless messages on faith and stories of God’s miraculous provision. Sometimes we can feel that if miracles don’t happen then we’re not living by faith. I’ve learned that God’s faithful provision takes many shapes and sizes; faith can be about effort, routine, and diversity.

Faith requires effort. I know this statement is counterintuitive but look at Nehemiah 4:4. When faced with opposition in building the wall, Nehemiah records: “We prayed to our God and set a guard against them day and night.” They prayed and were practical. At times, both Peggy and I worked outside the ministry to supplement our incomes. I cleaned offices and built decks. Peggy taught school to assist in college tuition. God supplied our needs through our efforts. We prayed and were practical.

Faith works through the routine. March or April was always a high point for us. Taking advantage of the child exemption credits on our taxes always promised a payoff. We bought furniture and a used car with tax returns. Sometimes God provides for us through something as routine as a tax return.

Faith is amazingly diverse. God’s faithfulness has shown up in diverse and unpredictable ways. One small stream of income has been book royalties. Only in my dreams did I picture being an author. Another income stream was inheritance from family members. We benefited from the generosity of parents. Diversity showed up in funding through partnerships with a medical ministry, teaching at a university, and through church service. God’s faithfulness is amazingly diverse.

The Bible is populated with creation images to hang in the galleries of our minds. Besides crows, we should watch rainbows (Genesis 9:16), serpents (Proverbs 30:19), or lilies (Matthew 6:28). They’re all preaching to us about God’s faithfulness. The Lord uses everyday images to teach us about Himself. Here’s a picture to hang in the gallery of your minds: think about His faithfulness (and White Castle hamburgers) the next time you see a flock of crows.

What pictures has the Lord hung in your mind about His faithfulness? Drop me a note on some crows in your life — pictures of God’s faithfulness.

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