What the Mockingbird Taught Me
Spring has returned; the world is bursting with color and light. One recent day, coming home from work, as I approached my front door something caught my attention. There, on the peak of the roof, was a mockingbird, sitting happily, proudly—and singing.
His song mesmerized me. He called a simple tune of perhaps three notes, and repeated three, four or five times. Then he sang a new tune—a single note followed by a trill—three times. Then he sang something else. Then something else again. Each new call delighted me for its uniqueness, its utter dissimilarity to what had preceded it.
This bird was displaying—wittingly, it seemed—his unending capacity for new sounds: single chirps of every pitch; trills; warbles; melodies. Perhaps he was showing off—or just enjoying the sound of his own voice—or practicing—or experimenting—or expressing his joy at the beauty of the evening—or singing to glorify the Creator who gave him a voice. Whatever the reason, it seemed this little creature was being … creative.
Amazing that God took such care to provide this fragile, tiny part of His handiwork with such nobility, such magnificent capability. Later I learned that mockingbirds have a repertoire of some 200 songs. Listening to this one brought a tear to my eye.
I worship the God who made this bird. What an artisan! Creating is what God does for work, and He throws His whole heart into it. His ingenuity and creativity are boundless. He has filled His creation with special poetic touches.
He crafted butterflies as tiny marvels of flight engineering—then took pains to paint their wings with patterns of intricate beauty to transform them into fluttering, dancing artwork. To feed us, God developed an infinite variety of fruits and vegetables, each with its own shape, color, aroma, texture and flavor. To serve us, He propagated a multitude of animals with diverse anatomies, abilities and personalities. He raised up mountains that inspire us with their immensity and majesty, even while they shelter wildlife and alter weather patterns. He fashioned lakes to glow and shimmer with reflections of His brilliant skies, even while they sustain myriad aquatic organisms and supply us with life-giving water.
Every millimeter of creation manifests virtuosity—the meticulous work of a Master Scientist, Designer, Engineer, Composer and Artist. All that God does, He does with abundant vibrancy and beauty.
The master Creator wants to build that same mindset in you, whom He made in His likeness. He tells you in Colossians 3:23, “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily.”
In all your work—in your family, your home, your chores, your job, your activities, your hobbies, your meals, your dress—you have opportunity to cultivate quality, to strive for the superb, and thus to elevate your thinking closer to the mindset of your Maker!
In this world, so often you see people doing things halfway. You see people lackadaisically scraping by, expending as little effort as possible, trying to get the maximum and give the minimum. Do only what is necessary—and do so grudgingly, they say. If you can get away with it, cheat the otherguy.
There is no joy in that way.
God wants us to go all out—and then to add that extra creative touch, that splash of special. He wants us to take pleasure in doing more than is required (Luke 17:7-10). To view any task before us as a chance to beat back darkness, to reverse decay. To seize every opportunity to shine, to excel, to labor in a way that reflects God’s mindset and gives Him glory.
Think of a simple task like mowing the lawn. On one end of the spectrum is the lazy homeowner who, after complaints from the neighbors, resentfully hustles through the job, cutting corners and leaving mounds of dead clippings behind. On the other is the professional who sees the green within the baseball stadium as an artist views a blank canvas, who plans and executes his assignment with diligence and pride, and transforms that field into a marvel of geometric elegance.
In all your labor, make the effort to advance toward the godly end of that spectrum—and take note of how your thinking transforms as you do. Give your customer an added perk he didn’t pay for. Put some extra analysis into that paper. Add a special touch to that report for your boss. Surprise your family with a trip to the park. Light the candles for that special evening meal. Put a little flourish in the calligraphy on that thank-you note. Do the extra things that put smiles on other people’s faces.
Sing the song God wrote for you to sing, and sing it with joy! In all you do, look for ways to glorify the Creator who gave you a voice, and who wants to make you in His very own image—the image of the Master Artisan, who does everything with all His heart.