Buzzard Living

(excerpt from Morning Meditations by Martin Wiles)
Luke 15:16 The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. (NLT)

“Here’s the buzzard food,” my wife remarked. I took the container, walked to the edge of our backyard and dumped it out. Soon the shadow of a large bird rolled across the lawn.

I enjoy watching small birds flutter around feeders, but buzzards aren’t interested in seed. Flocks beside the road signal death and in a short span this “road crew” can clean even a large animal.

Waste not want not was a phrase I heard growing up. Buzzards have it down pat. They remove waste but they don’t waste. Only carcasses remain after they finish a meal.

The buzzard food from our homes and restaurants could feed the hungry, but what the prodigal son almost wasted was more significant-God’s potential and plan for him.

Approaching his father, the son requested his inheritance, received it and left for a foreign country where he exhausted everything on wild living. Impoverished, he was forced to survive on buzzard food-which in his case was hog slop. Fortunately he came to his senses and returned home. His forgiving father restored him to sonship and threw him a feast instead of leftovers.

Normally told to illustrate forgiveness, the story also warns against buzzard living instead of royal living. God doesn’t throw scraps to his children-unless we ask. “Give us our inheritance so we can do what we want without having to listen to you anymore.” Then we go to our far country and waste his wealth.

Like the prodigal, I’ve done my time in the far country. It was fun for awhile. Then the new wore off. And I also tired of God’s discipline. So I came to my senses and went back where I should not have left.

God’s plan for our life is more than we could ever imagine and before us for the taking. His gifts and talents are abundant. The only limitation is our choice to take the waste instead of the riches. To live like a buzzard eating scraps when he offers steak. God invites us to enjoy the produce of obedience and faithful service.

Prayer: Father, when we’re tempted to take the scraps that come from wasting Your gifts, help us choose the best portions instead.
(photo courtesy of Vlado at

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