The Andean condor is one ugly bird.
Although the condor is graceful in flight, finches, parakeets, cardinals, and many other birds are far more attractive. Eagles are majestic, but like their condor cousins, personal beauty isn't a strong suit.
The condors' behavior, not appearance, intrigues me. These birds are the most massive flying birds in the world. Males weigh around thirty-three pounds and have a wingspan of over ten feet. How and when they take to the skies is nothing short of remarkable.
The condors face east to watch the sunrise each morning. As air currents begin to swirl, they twist their heads to pluck a feather from their backs. Incredibly, they toss the feather upward, testing the air. If the feather descends, they remain on their perch. However, if the feather rises, they know the currents are warm and strong enough to support their bulky bodies in flight.
These birds soar up to 18,000 feet, often staying aloft for five hours as they search for carcasses. They may roam up to 120 miles in a day and thrive on decaying animal flesh, just as other vultures do.
But the condor can teach us several spiritual lessons. Before taking flight, they look for the sunrise. As Christians, we'd be better off if we waited to see God's Son before we made a move. Condors wait for a breeze to stir, testing the currents for proper direction. If we learned to wait for the stirring of the Holy Spirit to usher us to greater heights, we'd spend less time in the valley of discouragement. Also, the higher we fly with the Lord, the better view we have of our Enemy.
The Andean condor isn't blessed with beauty. Still, their attention to seeing the sun and testing the wind is an excellent example we'd all do well to follow. Their life depends on assessing the wind to avoid plummeting to their deaths. Trying the spirits before we do anything can preserve our spiritual lives and help us avoid heartache.
You don't have to be beautiful to be a shining example that points others to Christ.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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Andy Hollifield is a Baptist preacher, evangelist, former pastor, writer, blogger, and missionary. He has been in ministry since 1986. He is the founder and director of H.O.P.E. Ministries in Candler, NC. He, along with his wife and son, are heavily involved in various mission activities.