An “Ordinary” Hummingbird

My wife recently purchased a hummingbird feeder to have outside the window of our kitchen.  We live close to some woods and love to watch the different birds and animals come by. 

The hummingbird feeder was a new one for us though.  I wasn’t sure if it would work, really.  Being in Central Iowa, I wasn’t sure how many of them were around.  After a few weeks, sure enough, we looked out the window while eating lunch to see a small hummingbird eating its own lunch from our small Dollar Tree find.

The kids each pressed up against the window as close as they could to see this beautiful creature seemingly suspended in mid air around this small feeder. This went on for a few minutes before the bird finished its snack and disappeared.

Within minutes, another one was there and the whole spectacle repeated itself. Completely mesmerized by something so new, so strange, so different from what they were used to seeing, they couldn’t help but be consumed by this new adventure.

You can imagine, then, how shocked I was when a mere three days later as we were having dinner one of my kids shouted out, “Look, another hummingbird!” to which another child responded, “Yeah, we have seen them every day for the past three days.”

So quickly. Too quickly, really.

It was such a short drop from sheer astonishment of the extraordinary to treating this small, amazing creature as just ordinary, treating it as if it were a common robin in the front yard.

As we sat there and I contemplated that statement, I thought how quickly we all have a tendency to get bored and move away from what was once amazing, or to get so comfortable with where we are at that we lose sight of the little things that once brought us pleasure

We see this often as people experience the deep and costly grace of forgiveness. That gift that is so extraordinary, so unimaginably generous, becomes nothing more than something that is common. Dietrich Bonhoeffer pointed out that as Christianity spread, grace began to cheapen. “The world was Christianized, and grace became its common property.”1

So then, how do we continue to be amazed at the extraordinary instead of letting it simply slip into the ordinary of everyday life? How do we stay so astonished by the gift that was given to us? We have to remember how it felt when we experienced it for the first time.

So, I urge you today to remember the extraordinary as you remember back to that gift of grace that you have been given. I urge you to remember the amazing that comes with that gift of grace. I urge you to seek to comprehend the love that God has expressed to you. And may you never let that gift of grace cheapen into a commonplace item that you forget about and lose sight of.

I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3.17-19.

  1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 46.

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