The past week was full of moves for us! Cindy and I were “back home.” We had a chance to see our son and two of our grandchildren in Baltimore, we had breakfast with with friends then hung out for the day in South Jersey, we watched the Eagles squeak out a win over the Giants in the Linc, we rested for a few days in our home away from home – the trailer in the Poconos, then celebrated homecoming and my class reunion with my Milton Hershey family. Of course the Spartan football team was victorious over Camp Hill for icing on the cake.
Just thinking about it again brings back mixed emotions – mostly good ones.
As we are about to leave for our ten hour drive home, I watched a flock of Canadian geese fly overhead which reinforced the reality of autumn and colder weather setting in. They were beginning their trek south for the winter I assumed.
I did not give those geese much more thought until the next morning while sitting outside doing my morning devotions. Interrupting my prayer comes a flock of geese overhead, just honking as loud as could be. It was a beautiful sight – and a welcome display of God’s creation before me. Remembering the flock from the morning before, I so wanted them to be the same group and imagined their flight path for just a moment. While I am sure they were a different group – the sight allowed me to ponder what lessons God could teach us from migrating geese.
Most of this is from memory, feel free to fact check me if you would like…
Geese know when it is time to move.
Evidently weather patterns motivate them but they need to pay attention to the signs of colder weather coming on. Are there signs that God is showing you? Are you paying attention?
Geese never move alone.
I do not ever remember seeing a single goose flying overhead for an extended flight. They always seem to travel together. It offers safety, fellowship and companionship. Jesus also never moved alone – His disciples were always with him whenever he moved from town to town or even within a location. Even when Jesus went to a “desolate place” to pray, he was with God, his Father.
Geese take turns leading when they move.
It has been documented that flocks of geese are led by in flight by a different individual goose throughout the journey. The purpose is so that no one goose is worn out by being at the front the whole time. Evidently geese know a little something about aerodynamics and are aware that the leader of the V flight pattern is taking on the brunt of the air resistance. By sharing the leadership role, one can rest and refresh while another takes the added strain. The Bible has a similar example in Exodus chapter 18 where Moses is encouraged to share the emotional stress of leading by his father-in-law Jethro. Oh the wisdom of geese!
Geese encourage one another while they are moving, especially the leader.
The honking you hear has a purpose. You might say it is a kind of work cadence song which is intended to encourage the leader, but also occupy the mind of the flock. It motivates them all by serving the group – especially the one who is at the lead. Jesus constantly was coaching his team to be servants to each other and to be humbled. Jesus’ mantra on leadership is to be the least in order to be the greatest. This simply means that God wants us to be servants to each other – loving each other in service and attitude is what he values most.
Geese protect their wounded, even if it means staying back.
It stands to reason that a large group of anything in motion is at risk of experiencing some type of injury or illness. It happens with sports teams; it happens with your workmates professionally; it happens with your classmates at school. One of the biggest Bible lessons we can learn from geese is how they handle it when this occurs. Geese will never allow one to fall out of formation alone – they always leave two other healthy ones behind with the incapacitated one. It offers protection, companionship – and, dare I say, love. The teacher in Ecclesiastes tells us that two can protect but three are even better (chapter 4, verses 9-12). Jesus also invites us to care for the hurting at the end of Matthew 25 – in fact, you may even call it a warning from Jesus!
What did God teach me through the geese?
- When God is trying to move you, pay attention! The move might be physical, but perhaps it is emotional or spiritual.
- Do not make moves alone!
- Allow others to lead, but be willing to lead also.
- Be an encouragement to the group – and to yourself.
- Care for others in your circle when they are down. And, others in general, the way Jesus would have us do!