Over the past couple of devotionals, we’ve learned some powerful lessons in church unity from the interesting bell miner, also known as the “bellbird”.
I must say, however, that the first fact I learned about bellbirds didn’t come from the internet. It came directly from the lady in the campground reception office who checked us into our cabin that day in Eden, NSW where I first heard the “bells”. When I asked about the pretty tinkling noise, she rolled her eyes, and the tone of her response dripped with disdain. But I didn’t get it. I was enjoying the silvery bell-like calls. What was there about this warm-blooded, flying “carillon” that made the campground receptionist so annoyed?
A quick trip internet search revealed that she wasn’t the only one annoyed by these little birds, and after just 24 hours in the region, I began to understand…The bell-like call of these birds rarely ever ceases, and once a bellbird colony “moves in” to a neighbourhood, it rarely ever leaves. As much as I love birds, I had to admit that if I had to hear that incessant bell-like call 24/7, it would likely drive me crazy. There is just one thing that can be said for certain: The call of the bell miner will not be ignored!
In “The Bellbird, Part 1“, we learned that Jesus specifically mentioned unity at least four times in the pastoral prayer given just before He went to Gethsemane. The reason Jesus gives for requesting unity, however, is worthy of special mention: “I pray that they will all be one…so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21 NLT). Jesus’ reason for praying for unity is none other than–evangelism!
Remember that Jesus does not wish for any to be lost (“…He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9b NLT). His desire is that everyone be saved!
The incessant call of the bell miner may be annoying to those who have to listen to it, but it teaches us a powerful lesson. What if we were to be as incessant about evangelism as the bellbird is in making its bell-like call? What if we were to spread the gospel every chance we got? We would most definitely be noticed!
Of course, the bellbird call is annoying; and if we were to incessantly talk about God, it would likely be seen in the same light. There are, however, many other ways to preach the gospel, and only a few of them require that we open our mouths. Here are a few examples:
1. We preach a powerful sermon in our unity alone: “I pray that they will all be one…so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21 NLT).
2. We preach a powerful sermon when we love one another: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34 NLT). When we reach out to others in love, they notice, and it isn’t annoying to them. Isn’t Jesus the perfect example of Someone who showed incessant love? Aren’t we called to follow His example? “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Eph. 5:2 NLT).
3. We preach a powerful sermon when we care for one another: “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matt 25:40 NLT). When we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, give clothing and shelter to the cold and homeless, provide means for education and medical care, etc., we go a long ways in evangelising the world.
Remember the Sermon on the Mount? “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matt. 5:16 NLT). This is what the bell miner does 24/7. This is what we are called to do as well.
Let’s learn from the bellbird. Let’s stand in unity beside our fellow believers. Let’s pray for them, strengthen and encourage them and help them in their times of need. But let’s also be incessant about spreading the gospel to a lost and hurting world by showing love and support, feeding the hungry, encouraging the discouraged, comforting the hurting and providing shelter to the cold and homeless. In doing so, our good deeds will shine out for all to see and everyone will praise our Heavenly Father.
(If there are any bird enthusiasts out there who are interesting in actually hearing a bell miner bird, clickhere. If you live in Eden, NSW, or any other place where there are colonies of bellbirds, I will understand if you don’t choose to click this link…)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “The Bellbird” mini-series, please clickhere.)