Story 1: The Canary and the Sparrows
A story is told of a gentleman who had a beautiful singing canary. A friend wanted to try if he could teach his sparrows to sing by keeping the canary with them. He borrowed it, and placed it in the cage with his sparrows.
Instead, however, of teaching them to sing, the poor bird got so timid among the strange birds that it stopped singing altogether, and did nothing but chirp like the sparrows. The owner then took it back; but still it would not sing.
It then occurred to him to put it beside another canary, which sang well. This had the desired effect, and, regaining the old note, it sang as beautifully as ever.
Many Christians go, like the canary, into the strange company and atmosphere of the worldlings, and consequently they not only do not teach the world to sing their happy, glorious note of praise, but they cannot sing the old songs of praise in a strange land themselves, and soon they learn the sorrowful note of the world.
The best thing for such is to go back again into the more friendly, warm, encouraging and spiritually edifying society of happy, rejoicing Christian saints, among whom they will soon learn to sing the glorious notes of praise again, making melody in their hearts.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20, KJV).
Other Bible Texts to consider:
- “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).
- “15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-20, NIV).
- “24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25, KJV).
- “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, KJV).
- “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV).
- “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV).
Are two canaries always content being together? We would hope so.
Are we content with the circumstances in our lives?
Let our answer be YES as we daily surrender the fleshly preferences and exchange them for seeking and doing our Heavenly Father’s will, being living sacrifices “holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).
What if there be misunderstandings between our brothers and sisters in Christ?
As we are on trial for glory, honor and immortality, our test is to overcome our weaknesses of character and rather, to develop agape love towards our brethren, TRUST and reliance on God and patient cheerful endurance, learning to do the will of the Heavenly Father who knows best what we each need to develop in our characters, so that we can become “more precious than gold” to our Heavenly Father, and be “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17).
NO TRIAL OR TEST IS FOREVER.
It is your faith that is on trial now.
In the calmer days, when the sun of favor shone brightly upon you, you were quietly laying the foundation of a knowledge of the Truth, and rearing the superstructure of Christian character.
Now you are in the furnace to be proved…
Summon therefore ALL your courage; fortify your patience; nerve yourself to endurance; hold fast to your hope; call to mind the promises, they are still yours; and “cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward” (Hebrews 10:35).
“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7) and faith has gained her victory.
“57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58, KJV).
“37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37, KJV).
Story 2 – The Canary and the Sparrow
There once was a canary who would sing the most beautiful song during the day. This was so because he lived in a beautiful cage. His master brought him fresh water to drink and bathe in every morning. On top of this, he was fed the finest food. His house was set by the window with the best view and when the weather was pleasant, he would be refreshed by the fragrant breeze of the open window.
On a certain sunny day, a stray sparrow flew up to the window sill. He heard the song of the canary and then listened for a time. After a while he spoke and said, “Why are you singing so cheerfully since you are such a poor bird?” “What do you mean?” demanded the canary. “You live a confined life where your world is so small without any freedom,” answered the sparrow. “Your prison is so restricted, you can’t even try out your wings. Whereas, look at me… I can fly freely around” and then the sparrow flew up to the top of the neighbor’s house and back again, adding, “You surely are a poor bird.” Then the sparrow flew off without looking back.
After watching him fly off, the canary then looked at the bars on his cage. They wouldn’t move and he yearned to see a little more of the world around him very much. He started thinking more and more about his limited life, and soon became sad.
Before long, he lost his song. The next morning, his master brought him fresh, clean water for both drinking from and bathing in, but the bright yellow canary paid no attention. He stopped eating any of the delicious food prepared just for him and as the days went on, his head begun to hang down lower and lower and not one chirp or whistle came out of him.
The once happy canary had now become worse and not better and was truly a poor bird.
Then one bright morning, the sparrow reappeared as suddenly as he disappeared. He stopped and looked at the canary for a while. However the yellow bird with his head bowed low and filled with sadness, took no notice. The sparrow finally broke the silence and said, “What is wrong with you?” But the canary would not answer.
The sparrow now spoke with contempt, “You are even a poorer bird than I first thought.” Then, just as he was about to say something else to insult the canary, a cat jumped up on the window sill and caught the sparrow. The sparrow cried out for help, but there was no one who could help him. Then right before the canary’s eyes, the cat dined on the sparrow for lunch. When the cat had finished eating, he tried to get the canary also, but the bright, gold bars on his cage wouldn’t let him through.
When the canary’s master then heard the commotion, he briskly chased the cruel cat away.
After everything settled down and peace was restored again, the canary began to consider what had happened.
His cage protected him from his enemies, while the sparrow had no protection and was now dead. The canary had a master who cared for his welfare, meeting all his needs. The canary looked at the bars around him… he viewed the clean water to drink and bathe in, and gazed at the most delicious food for him to eat… and after thinking a long time, he decided he wasn’t poor anymore, but rather the richest and happiest of all birds. Understanding such great truth, he raised his most beautiful, yellow head and began to sing the most beautiful song!
Let us consider how much our heavenly Father lovingly cares for us, meeting ALL OUR NEEDS for our highest spiritual welfare!(Philippians 4:19)
Like the canary, we are protected from the Adversary—who, like the cat in this story—“prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The Apostle Peter warns the Christians of the early Church to “be of sober spirit [serious], be on the alert” (1 Peter 5:8).
Some may say we are confined and restricted because of our consecration vows unto the Lord in following Christ and because of our strict training & disciplinary lives as we fight the good fight of faith and run in the race of the High Calling in such a way as to win— be more than overcomers (1 Corinthians 9:25).
Perhaps one could say, this is the strictest training school ever in existence because it is one which guarantees the highest reward—it guarantees glory, honor and immortality for eternal eternities in the Divine Realm if one patiently endures faithfully unto death (Romans 2:7).
Should you ever want to be like the sparrow in this story—seeking for earthly comfort … Or if you ever feel “caged in” or think “the grass is greener on the other side” then it will help to remember what happened to the sparrow—he was caught and devoured by his enemy!
In a similar way, the Adversary will not be content until you are completely destroyed and your life is ruined!
Let us remember that when Satan tells us, “You are truly the poorest person without any freedom, with the most severest experiences which you do not deserve … there is something better than this for you now to experience… this life is about being free and having lots of fun etc.,” he is a liar!
Let us obey God’s Divine Principle of RIGHTEOUSNESS and sing our song of greatest JOY IN THE LORD reminding others & ourselves that we are the richest of all children because God is our Almighty Father who gives us only that which will work out for good.
Let us declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
The Heavenly Father through Christ has promised a crown of life to those who are faithful to Him until death (Revelation 2:10).
Since we have surrendered our entire will to do the heavenly Father’s Divine will in all, we cannot bemoan or wish for anything other than what our heavenly Father’s Perfect will IS and whatever His overruling providence has permitted, knowing that GOD IS THE GIVER OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD (James 1:17).
Let us end with the exhortation of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:3-15.
“3 His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”
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