Crossbills feed on the cones of conifers. Their bills are designed to pick the seeds out of the cones. But the cones of any given species of tree remain tightly closed for most of the year, but crossbills survive because different species’ cones open at different times of the year enabling crossbills to feed al the year round. In this case a larch tree, which being deciduous makes them slightly easier to photograph. Looking back through my life I realise that there have been times when different sources of spiritual food have become available, or in some instances appear more appetising. Setting aside Scripture itself, for the moment, there were times when I read a lot of biographies of Christians, especially when I was younger. Back in the early seventies every young Christian seemed to have read God’s Smuggler and The Cross And The Switchblade. Later other types of Christian literature of a more theological nature came along, such as Jim Packer’s “Knowing God.” Later still Bible commentaries began to fill my bookshelves. I am thankful that I had a youth leader who encouraged us to read through the Bible in a year, and most years I have managed to read most if not all of the Bible. Though it is to good vary reading programmes in order that the Word does not become stale, currently I tend to follow the programme of Bible reading that accompanies UCB’s devotional “The Word For Today.” In recent years the Christian media has developed in Britain and has become an important source of spiritual food to me in the last decade, both through the spoken word and music.
There is a curious fact about crossbills that I read about in my bird identification book. It stated that crossbills may colonise a plantation, which is presumably of all the same species of tree, and quickly proliferate until the population is too great and the crop of one year’s cones is exhausted before the next year’s crop matures and opens. Then the population will crash because of the lack of food. I believe that it is important to have several sources of spiritual nourishment so that should one fail for one reason or another then we do not face spiritual starvation. It is al too easy to find some ministry on the television which you like when you first see it, but after a prolonged period of time find that it seems to be the same message repeated in one form or another again and again. You might not disagree with what they are saying but you have heard so many times before. It then is wise to broaden your horizons and seek other sources which will bring balance to your spiritual diet.
David Rose, 2016.