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Spread the word like crows do

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

He struts across the grass in my front yard, his large size wrapped in a sleek black coat, sometimes revealing a glistening blue amid his feathers.

Crows or ravens are world-famous in the bird family, great workers for the “cleanup committee.” The expression “something (or nothing) to crow about” is a description everyone understands.

They may not be our favorite bird, but God seems to have had regard for them. He even enlisted their help to feed a prophet.

I watch from my kitchen window as they spy the stale bread under my crape myrtle tree. They are vocal, loud, sneaky, viewed as greedy, territorial, certainly discerning, maybe even “tribal.” Not very lovable.

Some do not share, but this morning, there was a difference. The first one perched on the top of the street lamp above the tree and surveyed the area. Before long, the “cawing” session began, “Hey, come see what I found!” Others may join him.

The crackers in my cabinet were tasteless and old. I threw them out. One crow came, picked up a cracker and tromped off to the next-door neighbor’s yard. He bit off a small piece, dropped it and then flew away, leaving the rest on the grass.

Was it tasteless, or did he need a drink to be able to down it? I have seen them take pieces of bread to the birdbath. He was soon back, searching. “Where is it? I know I left it here. Ahh, here it is.” One more bite on the hard crust and it was downed.

He flew to the top of the lamp post, cawing: “This is something new, come grab a bite!” Others joined him. The crackers were quickly devoured.

Crows are smart. God has given intelligence to all of His creation. One returned the next morning, did a survey, found nothing and flew away. No ad for the crow country that day but a great reminder for me.

I can tell people where to find the Bread of Life that satisfies.

While I feed the birds, the birds have never fed me. An almost humorous event has been injected into the very serious narrative of I Kings 17-18. God used ravens to feed Elijah the prophet.

Elijah was given the responsibility to tell the great king Ahab judgment in the form of a famine was about to fall on Israel. There would be neither dew nor rain in the coming days except by Elijah’s command. No crops, no food.

Hunger is a compelling influence. We know little of famines, but many are mentioned in the Old Testament.

Ahab was idolatrous, wicked to the core. Everything had been going along so well the people had ignored God. Why should Ahab or the people believe Elijah?

God knew Ahab would retaliate. He prepared and protected Elijah by telling him to make a fast getaway and hide himself by a small brook. There, God commanded ravens to bring bread and water twice a day.

We would prefer McDonald’s or other fast food, but there was none around. Elijah had to trust God and accept His provision or starve to death. He survived and confronted Ahab, not without some fear.

Read the story and discover how God kept His promise and the rain did come.

Amos the shepherd told of a famine to come, not for bread, but for hearing the Word of God. Could that be happening today?

Jesus said He is the Bread and Water of Life, but many people have not partaken of His feast. Are Christians willing to “caw” and invite people to the table set by our Lord? To see that others are fed and watered so they do not die eternally? Are we willing to “crow” about this?

Myrtle V. Thompson is a Suffolk resident and former missionary. Email her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.