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A Hawk

A blustery autumn day. I debated until mid-afternoon about running, but with the sun out in a cloudless sky, I took off down the driveway. Acorns pelted the leafy pavement in front of me. You play mental games to get out in weather like this. “I’ll just see if I can go four miles, and if it…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

A blustery autumn day. I debated until mid-afternoon about running, but with the sun out in a cloudless sky, I took off down the driveway. Acorns pelted the leafy pavement in front of me.

You play mental games to get out in weather like this. “I’ll just see if I can go four miles, and if it’s too much work, I’ll head for home,” goes my reasoning.

Three miles into it, I decide that I can make five total. At the top of the hill, I figure, “why not six.” And later, when the wind isn’t blasting in my face, I make it seven miles, glad for the prospect of home, but also happy to have endured the elements.

I came across one of the strangest sights on my way down the hill. Road kill announces itself with the telltale smell of death periodically along my route, but the carrion on the roadside ahead seemed to be moving. Coming closer, I saw that a great hawk was perched on top of what remained of a possum.

As I drew closer, amazingly the hawk didn’t move. I stopped not more than a meter away and he regarded me, sloe-eyed, impassive – daring me to edge closer. Seeing his talons, inexperienced in such Wild Kingdom moments, I stood there for maybe a minute. He tore lazily at the carcass and didn’t twitch.

Headed back home, I meditated on why the hawk impressed me so. Such examples of confidence are rare in my world. Most people or animals that I encounter flee when threatened. Christians in particular are diffident. The world beyond our doorstep is in crying need of our help, whether hurricane victims in New Orleans or orphans in India. Our master, Jesus, has commanded us to help the helpless. Yet many of us do nothing, beset by questions of “what if.” And too often, I’m in their number.

Today in my in-box are a dozen opportunities to help. There are checks to write, people to mobilize. My own example to set. We need the confidence and steadfast purpose of that hawk.

Comment

  • This is wonderful, Seth. How do you instill such confidence into your own soul? How do you learn to stare, as you say, sloe-eyed?

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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