A Bird’s Parable

We watched a bird catching fish show at the Li River. A fisherman had 4 or 5 cormorants on a bamboo raft. He sent the black bird with a long hooked beak, long neck and webbed feet to the shallow river. It dived into the water in search of fish, and soon emerged with an eight inches long fish in its mouth, which it swallowed and held in its throat. The bird could not wholly swallow the fish, as the fisherman had positioned a metal ring around its neck restricting the esophagus. It caught another fish and again stored it in its neck, which the fisherman retrieved to be sold in the market or his own consumption. We were told that the fisherman removes the ring after every seventh fish so that the bird can eat its catch; otherwise it will refuse to catch further.

While this is interesting in itself, there is a lesson for the Christian life. The cormorant is a seabird, free to fly and swim as it pleases. Yet if it is caught when young, it can be domesticated and trained as a “tool” for the fisherman. The ring around its neck is like a snare that keeps the bird under bondage to its master, whom it now depends on its livelihood. Some Christians are like the domesticated cormorant. When they are young they are caught in a bad habit or addiction, and lose their freedom to the Enemy. Once in a while the slave-driver allows the captive to have its “fix” or satisfaction, only to deepen the addiction and keep the victim under his thumb.

How can the bird be set free? In the natural realm, we can say “don’t get caught”, but this is possible only physically, not spiritually. While the cormorant can watch out for traps to avoid being caught, it is impossible for a person to avoid sin all his life. The only way for a caught bird and a sinner under bondage to be freed is for a new owner to redeem the captive and set it/him free. This is what Christ had done for us. Only He is worthy to be our Lord and Savior. Think about that and thank Him.

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