House sparrows count. They know the difference between two and three. Our squirrel-proof birdfeeder (it isn’t) closes when three sparrows sit on the perch. Two sparrows can feed as much as they want, but when a third sparrow tries to land, resulting in closure for all, the two sparrows already there will chase the third away. The feeder will stay open for one cardinal and one sparrow. But when a second sparrow tries to land the one sparrow will chase it away. Two is good. Three is bad.
Since I am skeptical about the ability of most sparrows to count I have to conclude that my sparrows are smarter than your sparrows just as my dad can beat up your dad and my church is better than your church.
Aren’t we amazing creatures? It usually has to be about us and how smart we are and how intellectually needy others are. We are the center of the universe. Me first. My grandchildren are more everything than yours. This must have driven Jesus crazy as he observed the behavior not only of His nation but of His disciples. Thus, Jesus calls us to servant ministry and for Paul to say in Romans 12, “Love must be sincere. . . . Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.” It is difficult to do this and remain self-centered.
It’s nice to be somebody. It’s even nicer to be nobody. It’s a difficult lesson to learn. But once learned life becomes so much richer. As Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last first.” Matthew 20. “Ask not what your neighbor can do for you, ask what you can do for your neighbor.” It works on every level of life.