From time to time, people ask me, “Where in the world do you come up with those articles, those thoughts, week after week after week?” Well, to be honest with you, a few of the ideas have come from inspirational moments I experienced while reading a passage of Scripture or hearing a message or having a thought that obviously did not come from the thought-generating part of my mind but was provided by God.
Oftentimes, the ideas come from you. I don’t live my life just walking down the street with folks coming up to me and saying, “Hey, have you ever thought about this?” On the other hand, it is not unusual for me to be talking with someone and they don’t even know they’re providing a thought that the Lord will shape, trim, expand, and focus.
Today’s article entitled, “Waddle, Waddle, Waddle,” is not my thought. In fact, the story of the story is interesting in that it came from a Sunday School teacher who, in the process of preparing for his Sunday labor with his class, was talking to another Sunday School teacher from another church who shared with him a thought he read somewhere that somebody else had written. It came from somebody he didn’t identify in telling the Sunday School teacher who was his friend who he didn’t identify who was telling me the story. This is not mine, and it is not the Sunday School teacher’s, and it is not the friend of the Sunday school teacher, but is from somebody who wrote something similar to the truths in this article. You in turn can pass it along anywhere you would like in any way you would like that might bless somebody else or help you or help others to step out there beyond themselves and do what God has created them to do.
The story goes that the ducks were having church on Sunday. Before the service was to begin, they were waddling up to the church. One by one and in groups of families, they waddled up there, waddled through the front door, waddled to their pew, and sat down. It wasn’t long before the choir waddled in. They waddled into the choir loft, found their places, and sat down. The worship leaders including the minister of music and the pastor waddled in to begin the service. It was an inspirational and good service filled with triumphant singing and meaningful praying, an opportunity to give, and an opportunity to be challenged by the Word of God. They absorbed everything that was taking place at the Sunday morning duck worship service.
After a glorious experience on that Sunday, inspirational and uplifting, they had the closing prayer and one by one they waddled out. By the way, the sermon that day was a challenge to all the ducks who learned what God had done for them and how He gifted them and that His intention was for them to use their gifts for His glory.
If there are two outstanding aspects about ducks that all of us recognize, the first is they are super swimmers. They are created that way. The parts of each of their webbed feet press tightly together when the duck pulls them forward so the he/she can pass his/her feet easily through the water, and then those parts fan out to catch the water and push it in a rearward direction to enable him/her to swim forward so gracefully and beautifully. However, when ducks climb up on the bank they don’t walk so well across the street or even when going to church. They waddle, waddle, waddle. They are not graceful. It looks like they all have a genetic or physical problem or had an accident or maybe somebody has done something to them and they can’t walk efficiently. No, they’re just not using their feet in the environment for which those body parts were created, so they waddle.
On this particular Sunday the pastor waxed eloquent, charging them to see the second gift that every one of them had received: spreading their wings and flying. While a duck in flight doesn’t resemble a majestic eagle, they both share that wonderful gift of flight. The preacher that day took the Scriptures related to eagles and applied it to his flock that they “shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31). He told them that God had made them to fly. Of all the things a duck has, it’s the gift, the wonderful gift, of flying.
You and I see them as they fly south and north and sometimes just hang around during the cold weather because there is enough food here in Mississippi for them, but they are made to fly. To see them flying in the middle of the night illuminated by a full moon and the “V” and “W” shapes they create is an amazing sight as they glide across the dark sky. They can fly. On that Sunday, the ducks came to church, listened, and were challenged to fly higher and farther than they had ever gone before. When the Amen was said, they waddled out.
For each one of us, the truth from God becomes clearer and clearer. According to Jesus in his amazing parable about the talents, every one of us has received gifts from God. You may be a one-talent person, a two-talent person, a five-talent person, or eventually a ten-talent person, but you have received gifts that came from God. Truthfully, even though we are encouraged, cajoled, pushed, pulled, and begged, sometimes we do not use our gifts. We use them for us occasionally more than we use them for the Maker who gave them to us.
In the parable, one of the talent recipients had only one talent and he buried it. I wonder how many of us have done that. Oh, we didn’t take a shovel, turn the dirt, bury it, cover it up. We just hold it close to us and don’t let it be used. We ignore the opportunities that come for us to express our one gift, whether that’s flying or caring. Truth be known, there are probably many more of us one talent people in the church than there are the ten talent folks. We will applaud the ten talent people, wish we had that gift or those gifts, but the one we have we simply keep it buried or pushed down in our pocket or slipped into our purse and we don’t use it.
Here’s the most important thing: God has made us who we are and gifted us with what we have. It is not yours. It is certainly not mine, but He calls on us to let Him use us. He may take a sermon and challenge you to let your gift be used, or a song inspires you to let your gift be used, or an article in a paper that says, “Waddle, Waddle, Waddle,” and says to you, “I need to do the thing that God gifted me to do.” Today, don’t lay the paper down and just walk away, waddling down the road. Spread your wings. Let God use the gift that He has given you to touch lives literally in your community and around the world.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.