We are deep into summer now, and the time that fledglings have left their nests is long past, so this is not a super-timely topic, but isn’t God amazing? Literally countless generations of birds have followed the same migratory and reproductive patterns to perpetuate their species. Every spring they lay their eggs, those eggs hatch, they rear their young, and then the young leave the nest. Sure, there are problems. Poorly located nests, storms, and predators all took their toll, but the majority of those baby birds grew to maturity and are now out on their own. From the time those eggs were laid, that was the objective of those parent birds—to get the kids out of the nest.
You have likely never thought of the church as a nest, but that is much like what it is. It is a place be nurtured, to grow, to be fed, to be protected from the dangers of Satan and his world, and we should be ecstatic at having our children in such an environment. The farther they are removed from the safety of the nest, the greater the chance that they will be overtaken and destroyed. Injured, sick, maimed, or handicapped birds do not survive on their own. When that fledgling is removed from its nest before it is ready, we would be honestly more surprised if it survived on its own than otherwise. That is just the way it is. Nor will our children survive spiritually on their own. We make all kinds of excuses as to why this happens (and it happens way too frequently). If we were ornithologists and were studying why this was happening among birds, we would be identifying problems and working to correct. The base problem should be obvious: they need more nest time, so let’s keep them in the nest.
But there’s another side to this little parable. That side dealt with leaving the nest too soon. The other side deals with the birds that never leave the nest at all. Sure, the nest is comfortable and life is easy, so why would I want to leave. But if we stay with the analogy of the nest and the church, we need to get back to the objective of the parent birds—to get the kids out of the nest. Are we leaving the nest to evangelize (Matthew 28:18-20)? Are we leaving the nest to meet the needs (spiritual and physical) of those around us, in the church and out (Galatians 6:10)? When are we going to leave the nest?