I watch hawks on a regular basis. There are Cooper’s hawks, sharp-shinned hawks and red-shouldered hawks in this area. By far the largest number of hawks I see, however, are the sturdy red-tailed hawks. At least two of them perch in a dying tree in a forested area at the edge of our neighborhood. I sit on our back patio and watch them soar and circle, alight and take off again. They call out in surprisingly shrill screeches as they case the fields. As they circle, they watch below while the fans of their tails spread at just the right angle, the red flashing in obvious and impressive beauty.
I watch, admire in fascination, knowing I could never do that. Yet I am not jealous. I have no sense of loss that I am missing feathers and wings and that my bones are too dense to propel myself off the ground. I am content to marvel. I take notice of their grandeur and regal nature in the sky and am grateful I get to witness their perfect execution. In flight and in hovering, in swooping and alighting they complete their purpose in creation. It is how they were designed. They are separate from me, yet also a part of the same created world.
I do not have a hawk’s body, nor its instinct for hunting and diving. I was designed for something else. I listen for the whispering of the same Spirit to guide me into different things, different purposes.
There may be things I will never do well because they are not needed. Perhaps someone else is taking care of them. Because I have been created without wings and feathers. Because others are doing it better. Because the Creator has placed me here, in this place, for another function. I can still admire those around me stretching and reaching out for their calling. As I see my brothers and sisters living into the Spirit’s calling, I am thankful that I am part of the same created body. When I witness your gifts of hospitality, compassion, artistry, prophecy, organization, wisdom, empathy or encouragement, I am grateful Christ’s Spirit has not obligated me in all things. I am part of, and an integral member of, the body of Christ, quickened by the breath of His Spirit.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)
“That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another. God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:5-8 (CEV)