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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

No Ordinary Dove

I love to listen to the haunting melody of doves. I’m intrigued by their guttural cooing. Although there’s nothing remarkable about their singing, I find their songs soothing. Their coloring is also understated with pale beige and gray feathers; in fact, doves are just ordinary birds that often go unnoticed.

Doves may be common birds, but God has a special purpose for them. The Bible makes more than 50 references to doves.

Noah sent out a dove after the flood. When the dove returned to the ark, Noah knew water still covered the earth. Two more times Noah released a dove. On the third time, when the dove didn’t return, Noah knew dry land was appearing.

Doves were also important for the animal sacrifices commanded in The Law. Some people couldn’t afford to buy large animals for their sacrifices. The Lord made accommodations for the poor by accepting the sacrifice of a dove or pigeon.

When Jesus began his ministry, John baptized him in the Jordan River. As soon as Jesus emerged from the water, the Spirit of God descended upon him in the form of a dove. In each of these examples, we see the special purpose God has for these ordinary birds.

Frances was an ordinary dove. She was a plain and modest woman who wouldn’t catch anyone’s attention, yet the Lord had a special purpose for her. Frances was the first one to greet people as they entered the church. When there was a potluck dinner, she could be found quietly helping in the kitchen. She was always present taking attendance for Vacation Bible School, even when she was in her 90s. Frances didn’t accomplish noteworthy tasks, but her humble acts of service glorified the Lord and blessed the church. This ordinary woman, who left this life to be with the Lord, is greatly missed. The church has an empty space she used to fill.

The Apostle Paul considered himself ordinary, not imagining the Lord would have a special purpose for him.

“I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.” 1 Corinthians 2:1, 3 (NIV) 

Paul was mistaken. Despite his weaknesses, he played a significant role. The Lord had mighty plans for Paul.

We may consider ourselves to be ordinary, but we’re not ordinary to God. He paid an extraordinary price for us. We’re highly valued by the Lord, and he has a special purpose for each of us to fulfill. Our challenge is to discover God’s purpose for us.

We may be equipped to offer quiet acts of service. Maybe we’re a better support person than a leader. We may have the gift of patience or empathy. Maybe we’re an encourager. Our strength may be to work behind the scenes where others don’t notice us. Whatever our gifts or talents, they are significant to God’s overall plan.

The Lord chose common birds to fulfill his plans in the Bible; surely he has special plans for us. We may think we’re as ordinary as doves, but God can use us for an extraordinary purpose. As we offer ourselves to the Lord, his purpose plays out like a sweet melody to the world around us, like the gentle cooing of doves.   

"Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land." Song of Songs 2:12 (NIV) 

Adapted from Doris Hoover's book, Quiet Moments in The Villages, copyright © 2016 Doris Hoover. Used by permission.

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