Luke 17:37 - And they said to [Jesus], "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather." (ESV)

Here in Britain, we have herring gulls. They have a piercing, laughing call that instantly evokes in me a sense of the seaside. Recent years have modified that image experienced as a child. One day, as a male herring gull swooped down to take a chip (a french fry) out of my hand while I was against the back railing on top of a large ferry, I looked into the cold eye of the seagull. They are definitely bigger and a bit scary up close!

Anyone eating fish and chips outside on the railings of a seaside promenade is definitely running the risk of losing their meal, not to mention the scaring of any chip-holding small children!

With the advent of large landfill sites, gulls have migrated inland. Consequently, we have them here at the university, where they play on the tops of the tall, cliff-like buildings, swooping down into our midst, onto the scraps that are dropped or left out by the unsuspecting.

Herring gulls are opportunist scavengers with a strict pecking order, and they are ruthless bullies. They play "Who is the king of the castle?" To see who is the biggest and meanest. To the winner go the rewards. In similar manner, the vultures Jesus mentions fight over carrion in the Middle East.

As I understand it, God wants us to avoid the unnecessary contests of our cultures, in thought, word, and deed.

1 Corinthians 3:3 - For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? (ESV)

Let us be wary of any "Who is the king of the castle?" Disputes at work, home, or church: My attire/car/house/church/meal/prayer/gift is more important, bigger, or better than yours!

We have nothing to prove because we all receive what we have by grace. We rejoice because the Holy Spirit abides in us. Yes, while it is still light, we can proclaim His kingdom by being faithful and obedient to His call in thought, word, and deed.

Luke 9:60 - And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." (ESV)

Prayer: Lord, help! We have cozied up to the world again! We have envied others, or sought to climb the ladder, or dwelt overlong with pride on our successes. Please forgive us our blunders and pour Your eternal life back into our world-stained souls. Come, Holy Spirit, and dwell in our hearts, to grant in us a renewed, godly wisdom, joy, and humility. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Rod Marshall
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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