What geese can teach us about cows
By Dan Mielke
Grace Baptist Church
All around us are reminders of the changing of the seasons. From the smell of the crisp autumn air to the chilly mornings, we are reminded of the prelude to winter. This fall, I was reminded of the change when I looked up and saw a flock of geese heading south. I smiled as I wondered if some of those geese were the goslings my family and I had seen on our bike rides by Mill Pond. As I pondered that question, a deeper question came to mind: How do they know to go south?
I wonder if it is disturbing for recent goslings born in the north to suddenly feel an unrest and desire to head south. I can imagine as the instinct of a goose kicks in and he suddenly finds himself joining a flock of geese heading south all the while wondering to himself, “What am I doing? Why am I following? Where am I going?” At first it must be incredibly disconcerting. I imagine he might turn to another goose in the flock heading south and begin honking to him, “Why, What, Where?” At the same time, he is being asked the same questions with excessive honking. I suppose the reason for the continued noise is they are all asking the questions at once and they don’t really have a good answer other than it is in their nature to do so.
My ponderings went further as I thought about other animals. Why don’t cows fly south for the winter? I think we can all take a moment to be grateful for the fact that cows don’t fly in any direction. Yet when we ponder why cows do not head south, I think there are two obvious answers. First, they are cows and it is not in their nature. Secondly, they have not been equipped by their Creator to do so.
This analogy easily connects to the spiritual realm. In II Corinthians 5:17 God says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Because of the new life that Jesus gives all those who come to Him in repentance of sin and trust in His payment, Christians are made into new creatures. We have been changed, from animals who have no desire to pursue the things of God, to creatures with an inner instinct to fly to the heavenly realm. The Bible calls this transformation of desire, a new nature. Not only do true followers of Christ have an inner desire, they have also been given the ability to live out the transformation.
When we understand this dual truth, that Christians follow Christ because their nature has been transformed and their abilities have been enabled, the Christian life goes from a list of the dos and don’ts to a natural living out of an inner change. Sadly, many people often view the Christian life as the process of accomplishing a list of things in order to be spiritual. That is no different than a cow looking up at a flock of geese and wanting to fly south. No matter how badly someone may desire to live out some aspects of the Christian life (love, joy, meekness, peace, etc.) a person’s well-meaning attempt without being changed by Christ will always lead to the exact opposite and mirror a cow’s clumsy attempt to be a goose and live in a manner for which is was never created.
This is the beauty of the Gospel, the Bible continues in II Corinthians 5:21 to explain, “For He made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ).” When a person comes to the realization that they can never try hard enough or do enough to be right with a Holy God, it is then that they can see that Jesus is willing to save them and transform their nature into a new nature and give them the ability to live in the life they were created for.
How about you? Do you live like a goose or a cow? Do you feel you have to flap your arms hard enough and do enough good things to be counted worthy of God’s love, or do you rest in God’s ability to both transform and conform you to live in the way you were created?
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