Eagles are so fascinating and perhaps the most majestic of all of God’s creatures. Bald eagles will find the tallest and sturdiest for their nest and golden eagles will build their homes on cliff edges where predators cannot have access. Eagles are monogamous. When they mate, they mate for life. Eagles have incredible eyesight. They can see 40%-50% better than humans. This allows them to be incredible hunters and provides great protection for their eaglets. When it comes to predators, eagles have very few. Their God-given gifts allow them to perch on top of the food chain. However, an eagle’s greatest danger is not that of external predators but something more intrinsic, something more natural. An eagle’s greatest danger is that the eagle will die in its’ nest. During the beginning moments of life, momma eagle will make sure her nest is safe, secure and the baby eaglets are in no danger of falling out. She will scratch and claw to give the nest depth. She will flatten out protruding sticks so her babies grow in peace. At the beginning of life, momma eagles take care of every need. She feeds, nurtures, and protects.
However, as maturation takes place, there comes a time when expectations are placed on the eagle. The now juvenile eagles must leap from the nest. There are no easy ways out of the nest. Their first flight is a massive leap. What was a place of comfort now becomes the greatest challenge and more often than not, eaglets will naturally not take the leap. This is when the momma eagle will rearrange the nest! She will begin by refusing to feed them as she did early on. She will force hunger to motivate the baby eagle’s escape into the reality of responsibility. She will take the sticks that formed a comfortable nest and turn them inward so the nest now becomes a radically uncomfortable prison. Her motivation is to get her eaglets to take the leap to fulfill their potential! Lastly, if the young eagle refuses to fly, she will nudge it further and further toward the edge of the nest until its only option is to jump.
While there are some dangers in commissioning those into ministry who have not reached spiritual maturation, perhaps one of the greatest dangers in our churches is that we have groups of believers, would-be pastors, student ministry leaders, and missionaries that are comfortable in their nest. They have been birthed by God for a purpose, spiritually gifted for service, and called into ministry yet they never fulfill their calling because of the home that what was meant to disciple and nurture them has become a tomb where their calling will die a premature spiritual death. They have become prisoners of comfort. Programs that were designed for discipleship and sending are now country clubs for fearful and perhaps even faithless believers.
Another danger is perhaps that you are a pastor in a church in desperate need of revitalization. Ministries are inward-facing. The church struggles to welcome new attenders let alone assimilate them into service. Maybe facilities are grungy yet members are apprehensive to update. Maybe music and practices are rooted in preference and members cannot discern between philosophy and theology. But there is this glaring issue. You have a comfortable salary. The church has a mortgage. Your biggest giver or deacon chairman has more influence than wisdom and you feel stuck. There is a need to launch out by faith and revitalize yet there you are, facing another year of being stuck in the same vice you promised to break out of last year. Perhaps your church is healthy but God is calling you to plant a church and quite honestly, the thought of walking away from a 6-figure salary as lead pastor of an established church is intoxicating.
Isaiah 40:29-31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. We often find comfort in this passage and God’s promise of strength brings security. However, we should also find great motivation in this passage. Consider these 3 thoughts as you navigate this season.
1. Fear will cause us to die in our nest. Is not the most repeated command in the Bible not to fear? Fear will sing your dreams to sleep. Fear fuels apathy. Fear replaces vision with cynicism. Fear disguises itself as discernment by erasing the potential of the Lord’s supernatural presence and power with your own analytical prowess. Don’t die in your nest!
2. Comfort will cause us to die in our nest. Comfort is the greatest threat to New Testament Christianity. Comfort rationalizes steps of faith as steps of foolishness. Comfort, at times, disguises itself as contentment.
I am not speaking in regards to finding security in your spiritual identity but rather in regards to refusing to challenge the ordinary and mediocre. Comfort seeks to redefine our values by telling us that we can pursue the fulfillment of the American dream with the same vigor we pursue God’s call on our lives. Please don’t be mistaken. Wealth is not a sign of greed but the refusal to consider walking away from wealth to follow the promptings and urgings of the Holy Spirit might be a sign that comfort rules the throne of our heart. Don’t die in your nest!
3. Control will cause us to die in our nest! Traditionalism is comfortable because it is predictable. Perhaps this is the number one reason we have trouble cutting the cord to legalism. It offers control, not necessarily over people but over situations and ultimately ourselves. 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us that we are not our own and we are to glorify God by ultimately through the submission of ourselves to Him.
It’s 2021! Don’t die in your nest.
Grand Rapids, Michigan