Peacocks or Buzzards: which do You Prefer?
“A face only a mother could love” is a funny or not so funny remark often heard in our culture. The implication is that the subject to which the comment refers is lacking in the aesthetics department; or in other words, that lady or gentlemen isn’t likely to don the respective covers of Vogue or GQ (Gentlemen’s Quarterly).
Whenever I see turkey buzzards, that uncomplimentary adage comes to my mind. However, the other day, I began thinking about the real benefit rather than the outward beauty of buzzards or lack thereof. Turkey buzzards, and vultures in general, provide an indispensable service by preventing the spread of disease. Animals in the outdoors succumb to accident, disease, starvation, etc. leading to their demise. This consequently results in the production of dangerous bacteria. Studies show the vulture’s highly acidic stomach destroys such bacteria. So, in essence, vultures get rid of the lethal source thereby making the environment much safer for us! Wow! In God’s economy, this “ugly” bird provides a blessed service!
On the other end of the aesthetics spectrum is the gorgeous peacock. If you ever drive by a road-sign for a peacock crossing, you probably drive very slowly looking around hoping to see at least one of the beautiful birds. The pinnacle of your experience would be to see the peacock unfurl its magnificent tail feathers.
But if we had peacocks visiting our front lawns we would be wise to think twice about the charm of their presence. Peacocks may add beauty and fascination to a neighborhood; however, peacocks through natural functions spread dangerous diseases that can harm us, our children, and our pets! Again, wow! This majestic bird manifests a menacing threat even in its passive beauty!
Mr. Peacock’s liabilities continue as we think about the negative association the bird has concerning his infamous character. When a male peacock courts, he spreads his tail feathers wide to attract a female. So people who strut their stuff are said to be “proud as a peacock”. This is reminiscent of a vain, self-centered, self-aggrandizing person. This pride, according to God’s Word, is lethal as it is inseparably connected to the Devil and the ultimate destruction of him and all proud, unrepentant sinners!
Here’s another adage with which we’re all familiar: “All that glitters is not gold.” In more Biblical parlance, actually the very Word of God, it would be rendered: “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly" (NLV). Nothing is inherently wrong with outward beauty…but in this world it fades! Conversely, inner beauty (through salvation and sanctification in Christ) grows rather than fades as we mature spiritually. In Proverbs 31:30 we are told, “Charm is deceitful and [outward] beauty is fleeting…”
So, in dealing with others (especially in the body of Christ) how do you see real beauty, value, and worth? Is your judgment wise or foolish, superficial or discerning? Are you apt to judge rashly, prematurely or will you invest the necessary time and effort to really know a person to learn who he or she is?
Brothers and sisters in Christ sometimes bury themselves deliberately or unconsciously due to hurts and past failures. However, because of their inseparable and vital union to Christ, these blessed brothers and sisters are like buried treasures. Take the time and effort in Christ to wisely, patiently dig and you’ll find that treasure!
If we are to rightly be children of the Heavenly Father then we are to have our Father’s eyes…not in terms of physical characteristic but we are to see as He sees. We are to find beautiful that which He calls beautiful. It is the rogue rather than the relative who calls evil what God calls good; and, calls good what God calls evil. We must see beauty as God sees beauty. Psalm 36:9 speaks of the “beauty of holiness”. This alone is the true beauty God sees as glorious adornment.
Concerning Jesus the Christ, Isaiah (53:1-2) through the Spirit tells us: “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him. He was despised and rejected.” In fact, it no doubt is when Jesus seemingly was the least desirable and most wretched that He pleased His Heavenly Father without measure with the beauty of holiness in human form. Never was One so repulsive ever so resplendent!
“Look, My Servant will succeed. He will be exalted and lifted very high. Just as many were appalled by you, He too appeared disfigured, inhuman, His appearance unlike that of any mortal. But He will astonish many nations. Kings will be silenced because of Him, because they will see what they haven’t seen before; what they haven’t heard before, they will ponder” (Isaiah 52:13-15).
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February 3, 2017Peacocks or Buzzards: which do You Prefer?