THE SCIENCE OF FLYING GEESE
by Tommy Thornhill

 

This is the time of year when geese fly south for the winter. They always fly in a "V" formation. Have you ever wondered why? Scientists have learned from study and observation several lessons. The things learned about the geese flying in a V formation can be applied to the way members of a local church ought to be working.

LESSON 1. By flying in a V formation the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if the birds flew alone. As each bird flaps his wings, it creates an uplift for the birds following. This assist helps the whole flock. The lesson for the local church is that when people share a common sense of direction, purpose and community all are benefited. All can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they travel on the efforts of one another, Eph. 4:15-16. Many times churches do not grow because the members want to go it alone. They are not "one another" centered. I have been told that one horse by itself can pull a pretty good load, but when teamed up with another horse the load pulled can be increased four-fold, instead of merely doubled. Geese work together, why can't brethren?

LESSON 2. Whenever a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and thus gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. The lesson for us is that we need to have as much sense as a goose. If so, we will stay with the group headed in the direction we want to go. We will accept their help, and give ours to them. None of us live or die to ourselves Rom. 14:7. We need each other Phil. 2:4.

LESSON 3. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing formation and another goose flies at the point position. Our lesson is that it pays to take turns doing the hard jobs and sharing the leadership. We learn to bear one another's burdens, and make it easier for everyone Gal. 6:2.

LESSON 4. The geese in the flock behind are continually "honking" to encourage the ones in front to keep up their speed. We need to make sure that we keep "honking" (not squawking) to encourage those who are leading and working to keep up the good work. Oftimes some in the church are criticizing and fault-finding (mote-picking) rather than uplifting. Read 1 Thess. 5:11-13.

LESSON 5. When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese fall out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again, or dies. They then launch out on their own, join with another formation, or catch up with the flock. The lesson for us is, if we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Gal. 6:l “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” Rom. 15:1-2.

At some time or another, "you" will be called upon to be the lead goose. Someone looks to you for guidance. It may be your family or friends. It may be a large group of children or adults. Someone looks to you for an example to follow. With this in mind, it seems your task is threefold. First, you must fly in the right direction - the direction of RIGHT - the direction God wants you and the whole group to go. If you wander off course, trouble is ahead. Second. you must keep up the speed, for there is no place for loafing on this trip. Keep the normal pace, not too fast, not too slow. Third, and very importantly, is that flapping is intended to make the flight easier for those who fly behind you. You should never make it hard for anyone to follow you.

When you are not the lead goose, be sure to keep "honking." Your encouragement is needed and it is absolutely vital. With each one doing his part, it will be easier for all to reach the goal.

Note: Some of the material for the above article was obtained from articles by Doug Crane in "The Caprock church Bulletin" and Frank Jamerson in "Sound Words".

CONVICTION OR CONVENIENCE
by Dwane Derrick

“And as he reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, Go thy way for this time; and when I have a convenient season, I will call thee unto me” (Acts 24:25).

The inspired record of God does not record that Felix ever found a convenient time for obeying God. He sent for Paul often and communed with him, but he never found it convenient to renounce sin and confess Jesus as the Christ. Many people today wait for a convenient season in which to become Christians. Now they are too busy in sin, but perhaps next year will be suitable. And so they tarry all their lives in sin, until death, waiting for a convenient season.

Many Christians are waiting for convenient seasons to fulfill their tasks in the Lord's vineyard. Some would be willing to attend the periods of Bible Study if it could be done conveniently. Others would use more of their means to further the cause of the Lord if it were convenient. The sick would be visited, the unconverted taught, the backsliders restored, if it were convenient to do so. But the fact is, no one can serve God and not endure a great deal of inconvenience.

It was not convenient for the Lord to exchange the bliss of Heaven for a crown of thorns, but He did so. It was not convenient for Peter and John to leave a profitable fishing business to suffer public beatings for the gospel of Christ, but they did. It was not convenient for Paul to forsake the honor and power of a high position in the Jewish government for untold hardships as a roving preacher, but he did. It will never be convenient for any man to renounce all that he has, deny himself, and take up his cross daily to follow Jesus. Those who will not be inconvenienced cannot be saved.

Serving God is a matter of conviction, not convenience. One who is convicted of his sin will not wait for a suitable time to obey the Lord's commands. A Christian's convictions will lead him to ignore petty inconveniences. Paul tells us that “faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). The apostle John writes, “And this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The assurance and conviction of faith will overcome all hindrances. Let your life be ruled by conviction, not convenience. Do not suppose that God will delay the day of judgment until a time convenient for you.