Once there was a home owner who had a very nice backyard. There was no other yard quite like it in the whole neighborhood. It was peaceful, inviting, a refuge.
One autumn, late in the season, this home owner decided it would be great to put up a bird-feeder so he could feed the birds and watch them enjoy his provision from day to day.
So the home owner attached a bird-feeder to his clothes-line and filled it with lots of wild seed – a mix that would be nutritious and attractive to many varieties of birds.
Then the home owner waited … nothing much happened for a couple of days. There were no feathered friends who visited the feeding station. The man was a somewhat surprised and disappointed, but he decided to wait a little longer. The weather grew colder overnight and there was frost in the air. Snow would be coming soon as winter set in.
On the third day the homeowner’s patience was rewarded. A lone sparrow flitted into the backyard and was soon alight on the the feeder tray munching on seedy goodies. After a few minutes the little bird flew away. The man was very happy and he continued to keep watch.
Before long 3 sparrows were sitting on the homeowner’s fence. Soon they were enjoying the munchies while 6 more friends joined the backyard gang. As the man’s heart swelled with gladness that his provision was being enjoyed, some 20 or more birdie buddies came to see what was going on. The homeowner’s yard was filled with hungry bodies satisfying their hunger.
The next day the homeowner had to replenish the bird-feeder. He did not want his new little friends to find an empty vessel. Later the man watched delightedly as the sparrows swooped in and out of his yard. Suddenly with a flurry the birds flew away and a blue jay perched on the feeder. The next day a pair of cardinals joined the feeding fiesta. Later in the week 3 squirrels entered the yard to pick up the stray seeds on the ground.
What joy it gave the homeowner to see the creatures fed and cared for. Never was the bird-feeder depleted of seed, and never was the yard empty of those who appreciated the homeowner’s generosity and faithfulness.
The kingdom of heaven is like that home owner’s backyard.