Dr. James L. Snyder Ministries
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"Out to Pastor" > The Squirrel and Birds Controversy


9 Jul 2016

I have learned controversy is what life is really all about. Controversy means there is two sides, one side has no idea what the other side is thinking. Of course, there are those controversies when neither side is actually doing any thinking. That is what is called politics.

I had an illustration of this recently. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I spent a wonderful week’s vacation in Ohio visiting our son and his family. It is always great to spend time with family.

Early in the morning, I would go to the front porch, sit down with a book and casually enjoy the quietness. One particular morning as I was marinating in the silence, I heard what sounded like an explosion in the tree.

I looked and saw a squirrel racing down the tree followed by two screaming birds. I watched as the squirrel disappeared into some bushes in front of the fence that bordered the property. I could see him standing and staring at the birds who were screaming at him.

He stood like a frozen monument, they finally gave up and flew back up the tree and I saw them go to their nest.

I looked over and saw the squirrel standing there staring up at the tree in the area where the nest was.

I almost went back to my book when I saw out of the corner my eye the squirrel leaping off the fence and racing back up the tree towards the nest.

Almost immediately, the birds that were guarding the nest exploded in anger and chase the squirrel back down the tree and he jumped into the bushes and hid from them. They squawked and screamed for a few moments, threatening some very bad business to the squirrel.

Again, he stood there just staring.

This went on about six times before I finally realized what was going on.

The birds were up there protecting their eggs, which would soon hatch into little birdies. They were protecting their family and their future.

The squirrel, on the other hand, saw in that nest up the tree a fresh scrambled egg delicacy. The controversy was between a now pleasure and a future family. If only the squirrel and the birds could come together and talk out their controversy, maybe they could have come to some reasonable resolution.

Of course, it would be rather difficult to talk the squirrel out of enjoying a scrumptious little meal.

That reminded me of some controversies we have had in the parsonage through the years. It all boils down to the squirrel and the birds’ controversy. I want something now, just like a squirrel, and my wife, like those two birds, is one of those people that know how to plan for the future. For me, I am not sure how long I am going to live, so I want something right now!

I am a little squirrelly along this line.

I do remember a time when my wife was preparing cookies for Christmas. My wife cannot do anything at the last minute. It takes her time to prepare and plan all of her cooking. So, when it comes to Christmas cookies she is beginning the preparation long before Thanksgiving.

It was the beginning of December, if I remember correctly, and my wife was baking a bunch of cookies that she was going to use to give to certain people for Christmas. Unfortunately, I do not pay attention much to things like that. I came into the kitchen and discovered to my delight, that there were cookies on the counter but no wife in the kitchen.

I was only going to take one with the belief that she would not miss just one cookie. That was my original plan. My plans never have a long-range effect like hers do. My plans are always in the “NOW.”

That cookie was so delicious, so scrumptious, that I thought it deserved one more cookie for my consumption. After all, she would not miss two cookies. As I said, I live in the “NOW” and I am not quite sure how many cookies I consumed before my wife came into the kitchen.

All I know is, there was squawking and pretty soon she was chasing me not only out of the kitchen but out of the house shouting, “How dare you eat all of those cookies. They’re not for you!”

Getting back to the porch, the squirrel and the birds, I began to feel a little bit of empathy for the squirrel. I knew exactly what he was going through.

Controversies are like that. One side believes one way and the other side believes another way and the twain shall never meet. There is the bird’s nest view and there is the fence view. Not to mention, the cookies in the kitchen view.

My wife saw that one way, while I saw them completely differently. It is really not my fault. If my wife did not make the cookies so delicious, I would not be tempted to eat them. In fact, they are so delicious that you cannot just eat one. Or, at least I can’t.

Thinking about that I was reminded what the prophet said, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

I know some controversies cannot be settled, but I think a good relationship deserves coming to some point of agreement.