Widow or Whydah: A Study in Contrasts

whydahChristians around the world know the Biblical account of “The Widow”. Jesus, in Luke’s Gospel, immortalizes her. “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.  So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (Luke 21:2-4).

The widow understood that her security, provision, and well-being was to be found in her Heavenly Father. Following Jesus’ teachings, she cared deeply about the needs of others. Humbly, she moved among the temple’s shadows and cast everything she had into the treasury.

Now, for a study of contrasts. In South Africa there is a small songbird called a Whydah (usually pronounced widow) Bird. They have a conspicuous pennant-like tail more than twice the length their body. Their long dark tails suggest a funeral veil, thus the corruption from ‘whydah’ to ‘widow’. A sharper contrast in action and nature cannot be drawn than between the widow and the whydah.

Whydahs are very aggressive and territorial. They are quarrelsome and may be quite belligerent towards other birds.  Whydahs are blitzkrieg specialists. Hovering and darting, they unleash lighting-fast attacks on other birds, driving them away from their territory and food supply. The species is also a brood parasite, which lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. Typically, 2-4 eggs are added to those already present in a nest. The eggs of both the host and whydah look much the same. Both are white, although the whydahs are slightly larger. After hatching, whydahs mimic the feeding habits of the host fledglings and take food away from them.

There are people who possess the grace and nature of the widow. They are humble and kindhearted. They are selfless and love their neighbors as themselves. Someday they will hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:25 NKJV).

In contrast, there are those who demonstrate the attitude and actions of the Whydah. They are at times belligerent, aggressive, or, at best, self-serving. The virtue of humility has escaped them. Self-centeredness and greed reflect their nature. This is the type of person that will be turned away at judgment.

Are You Like The Widow or The Whydah?

~ Brother Roy

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