From Tony: This is a guest post by my friend Samuel St. Fleur. If you are interested in guest posting, click here.
The ugly duckling is one of the most well known tales of the past two centuries. It is a story of how a little “ugly” duck is mocked and teased because it looked different. The other ducklings, as well as other animals, ridiculed it because of its gray feathers although it would eventually find out that it was not that different after all. While this story is well known, I was reminded of another story when I came across a duck that was different from other ducks I’ve seen.
I usually start my weekends playing basketball early in the morning on Saturdays. As I walk out the door, I try to either eat a banana or a piece of fruit for a quick burst of energy.
This particular week I decided to switch it up and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of the fruit. As I grabbed the bread I realized only 4 slices were left, including the end slices. I’m not sure about other people, but I have never been a fan of the slices on either end of a bread loaf. I always thought they were like book ends to keep the loaf in tact.
Instead of leaving the bread loaf ends in the bag and risk the wrath of my wife, I decided to feed them to the ducks in our area. I assumed that there would be several ducks around our house like normal so I grabbed the bread loaf ends and headed out the door.
Instead of seeing several ducks, I spotted only one that was bathing in a little puddle of water so I headed over to it. I started ripping off chunks of the bread loaf ends to feed it and that’s when I noticed something I didn’t expect.
As I was feeding the duck I noticed that it was moving awkwardly slow as it attempted to eat the chunks of bread I was feeding it. It was then that I saw that this duck only had one leg. It looked as if the other foot had been completely ripped off because all that was left was what resembled a stub.
Now, I’m not the type of guy that sponsors PETA events but I had compassion for this duck, which immediately reminded me of the Gospel. Before I describe what I mean by the Gospel, let me share two things that came to mind as I looked at this one-legged duck.
1. It needed help. I’m sure the duck had made it to the small little puddle by itself, but I can’t imagine what it took to get there. This might have been its only chance to wash itself off without being pushed aside by the other ducks, especially if there was food involved. Although it was by itself with the opportunity to enjoy all the bread, it still needed help getting to the chunks.
Just like this duck, mankind needs help. Don’t let the myriad of inventions and technological advances throughout the centuries fool you. As it relates to righteousness with God, we are unable to achieve it on our own or by our own efforts.
While the idea of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps is viewed as the ideal and a trait all humans have, the story of the Bible suggests otherwise. Our attempt to “fix” things spiritually ultimately leads in futility. We need God in order to relate God.
2. I planned on feeding the duck before it knew it. While I may not have planned to feed this particular duck, it was my intention to feed a duck nonetheless. This duck had done nothing to merit the bread I was feeding it. It didn’t have a polished beak or glistening feathers that would have made it stand out to justify my decision to feed it.
What it received had come from my own initiative and purpose. It didn’t meet me halfway nor was it able to. I had made the choice to feed the duck before it had a chance to make a choice of its own. In the same way, the redemption accomplished by God in Jesus begins with initiative of God according to the good pleasure of His will. With all this in mind, I couldn’t help but thank God for reminding me of the Gospel as I fed this duck.
The Gospel (good news) is that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the promised King and Messiah of Israel and Lord of the world. In love, He paid the penalty of our sins by dying in our place thereby satisfying the demands of God’s Law. His resurrection
from the dead confirmed that The Father accepted His sacrifice and it inaugurated a new age of creation with the sending of Holy Spirit as a guarantee.
By placing our faith in Him for salvation and righteousness before God by changing our ways, we have forgiveness of sins and by His resurrection we have the hope of eternal life in His Kingdom. All this is accomplished by the initiative of God because of His loving grace and we receive it as a gift. This news is for all mankind to hear regardless of ethnicity, gender, and social status and it is mankind’s only hope both in life and death.
I am thankful for the encounter I had with the duck because it reminded me of God’s love, mercy, and grace in Jesus. As you go through your day, look around because you may just see something that reminds you of God’s good news in Jesus!
Have you ever had something unexpected remind you of God?
Samuel is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his wife Ariel. His interests include playing basketball, studying theology, and weekend naps. He lives by a simple code: Live, Love, Laugh…and eat. When inspired, he blogs at www.stonecall.com.