Encouragement for Today - November 5, 2005



Encouragement for Today


“The Ostrich”

Rachel Olsen, Co-Editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:

Job 39:13, “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly; but are they the feathers and plumage of love?” (WEB)



I own a feather duster made from ostrich feathers.  It’s beautiful, decadent looking, and ostrich feathers are tops at attracting and holding dust. Who would’ve guessed an African bird would make my housecleaning a little easier?


It is a myth that these curious birds bury their heads in the sand when afraid.  In fact, there is very little the ostrich need be afraid of.  These birds grow to a size of 6-9 feet tall, and weigh as much as 300 pounds.  At such large sizes, the ostrich is one of the few birds that cannot fly.  Boy can it run though!  Hitting speeds of 44 miles per hour, the ostrich holds the distinction of being the fastest creature on two legs.  A giant bird that doesn’t fly, but can out run you and I … isn’t God’s creativity amazing?


There is one thing the ostrich should fear though – her own carelessness around her nest.


Job 39:13-17 (NIV) –


"The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
       but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.

She lays her eggs on the ground
       and lets them warm in the sand,

unmindful that a foot may crush them,
       that some wild animal may trample them.

She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
       she cares not that her labor was in vain,

for God did not endow her with wisdom
       or give her a share of good sense.”


Looking at the ostrich, it is easy to be awed by her majestic size, her unparalleled speed and her beautiful plumes.  I sometimes look at other women and become enamored with their God-given attributes, their stunning beauty, or their noteworthy accomplishments.  However, this small passage in God’s conversation with Job reveals that a better measure of a woman’s wisdom and accomplishments can be found in how she cares for her loved ones, particularly her young.


Although God did not endow the ostrich with wisdom, Proverbs 2:7 reveals that He “grants a treasure of good sense to the godly” (NLT).   In fact, anytime you or I are in need of wisdom, all we have to do is ask God. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV)


The problem is we often get so busy we don’t stop long enough to ask Him for it.  We run through our day and our to-do list at ostrich-speed, forgetting to make time to seek God or enjoy the good gifts He has given us in our children.


Operating at such frenzied speeds, our priorities tend to get blurry and we eventually lose sight of them all together – throwing our common sense out the car window as we race on to the next thing.  Sure we may accomplish a lot – we may even garner the admiration of others – but we often wind up stepping on our eggs, endangering our nest and treating our young harshly.  The World English Bible translation of Job 39:13 reads this way, with God asking, “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly; but are they the feathers and plumage of love?”


I have found this to be true: When I get going too fast and forget to stop and turn to God for daily perspective, it’s often my loved ones and specifically my young children who pay the price for my carelessness.


For many, the holiday season – with all its special baking, shopping lists, decorating, parties, church duties, Christmas plays and such – can be full of temptations to start running too fast.  Let’s slow down and put first things first.  Make sure to take time to fluff and feather your nest. Take time to sit on your eggs. When you do go out to “run,” make sure you keep your priorities in focus and remember to ask God for the wisdom you’ll need to do so.


My Prayer for Today:

Lord, thank You for granting me a treasure of good sense, and giving me wisdom when I ask.  Help me to slow down and put that to work in my life.  Help me to care for my loved ones in a way that honors both You and them.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:

Get out your calendar, schedule and/or to-do list.  Decide what is most important and what can be postponed or skipped all together.  Plan time just for enjoying and nurturing your family.


Reflection Points:

Are you too busy?


Are you using your “treasure of good sense?”


Is your home a gentle, loving environment?


Are you warming your children’s hearts with your nurturing care?


Power Verses:

Proverbs 31:27, “She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn't eat the bread of idleness.” (WEB)


Proverbs 31: 28-29, “Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you excel them all.’” (WEB)


Isaiah 66:13 “I will comfort you there as a child is comforted by its mother." (NLT)


Additional Resources:

A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes



Women Who Do Too Much, by Patricia Sprinkle



Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids, by Sharon Jaynes



Originally published Tuesday, 15 November 2005.