Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)
TITLE: Be A Goose—Support One Another
By Helen Dowd
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Are we willing to sacrifice our time to help a hurting Christian? To take time to sit by the bedside of a sick friend? Visit a neighbour who is suffering from depression? Are we willing to go out of our way to help? Let’s be like the geese. Let’s support one another.
It’s autumn. The air is crisp and clear. You are out walking with your dog: suddenly, a raucous noise overhead. Your dog barks. You look up. Several V-shaped flight formations of Canada Geese are migrating south. You’ve seen this before. It happens every year at this time. You pay no further attention. But wait! Look again. Stand and observe. Ever wonder why they fly in such precise formation? Ever seen the pattern change from time to time? Do you wonder why? There’s a good lesson for us as Christians, out of the geese’s precision.
Why do geese fly in a V formation? The flapping of each goose’s wings creates uplift for the goose behind him. The V formation allows each bird to fly 71 percent further than if it were flying by itself. The wind velocity created by the wings of the company of geese helps the momentum of each individual goose. If a goose falls out of formation it loses the strength of the other geese. It lags behind.
The lesson: Galatians 6:2, teaches that Christians helping Christians make for greater spiritual strength. We are admonished to “bear one another’s burdens.” If we try to “make it on our own”, we are headed for failure. Just like the goose that falls out of formation, we lose the momentum of other Christians. When this happens with the geese, the one which has fallen out must move quickly back into line to take advantage of its fellow geese’s support. The same with Christians. If we fall out of formation with other Christians, the drag of the world pulls us down. We must quickly get back in line so that the strength of our Christian sisters and brothers will fortify us.
Another lesson: Geese take turns leading. When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing, and another goose takes his place. Galatians 6:6 teaches that he who is taught, should share with those who teach. Isn’t that what the geese do? Christian leaders should not try to do all the work; nor should those who are part of the Christian community just sit back, absorbing all the teaching, never giving anything back. We are admonished to share responsibility.
Be like the geese. Know when we are tired. Drop back into the formation. Let someone else take the lead. If we don’t share the work we won’t get to our destination. If the lead goose were not willing to share the lead he soon would become so exhausted that he would be of no use to the rest. By their sharing, no one goose becomes useless from exhaustion.
When I was younger we had the care of nine children. I also had a Sunday school class, some of those children being in my class. I would be so exhausted getting the children ready for church that I could hardly pull myself together. I approached the pastor, asking to be relieved of my teaching responsibility for a while. I told him I had little time for preparation, and felt that I was of no use as a teacher. He said, “You have had all your life to prepare. Why do you have to have special preparation to teach Sunday school?” What he told me was wrong. An exhausted Christian is of no use to others, and is not a good testimony. I was like the lead goose. I needed a rest. I needed to be supported by my fellow “geese” at that time.
A final lesson: When a goose becomes ill or wounded and falls out of formation, two fellow geese fall out with him and follow the ailing goose, protecting it, supporting it. They stay with that goose until he is restored, or until he dies. Then, and only then, will the geese set out again to find another formation to which they can join themselves. Are we willing to fall out of formation – maybe even miss church a time or two—to help support a fellow Christian?
Be a goose. Support your Christian brother.
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