Daily Devotionals

Devotional: November 29th

Guano. Know what that is? No it's not what native bearers called the person for whom they worked. That's Bwana. Guano is bird droppings. Yes, the stuff that you see on the sidewalks and on your deck in the peak seasons for birds. I know. It's nasty stuff and probably doesn't belong in a spiritual column. Bear with me and I will explain. By the way, you can be happy that the birds that live around you are not the kind that inhabit a certain area for generation after generation. A little enlightenment.

Fish-eating birds have been depositing their droppings in the same location for, well, as long as they have been released from the ark after the flood. The result is huge deposits of guano which are rich in nitrogen and phosphorous and highly prized as an agricultural fertilizer. Many of these deposits are found on small either sparsely or totally uninhabited islands. To access these deposits the U. S. government actually passed a bill that created the Guano Act of 1856 for the purpose of harvesting the valuable mounds of droppings.

The two most prominent companies which mined guano in the early days of the Guano Act were the Baltimore-based Navassa Phosphate Company and the appropriately named American Guano Company. These companies laid claims to whole islands in order to stave off the competition; somewhat akin to filing a mining claim. Hundreds of tons of the stuff was mined each year from a number of small Atlantic and Pacific islands no larger than the average county in your state.

What is fascinating about all of this is that something which is nothing more than excrement, animal waste, became valuable as that which could return life to the soil. In the agricultural boom following the Civil War guano played a major part in restoring war torn crop fields. Literally, what is good for nothing more than to be left alone and ignored as mere garbage became the foundation for the restoration of life for many American farmers. The way that we look at bird droppings gives us an insight to the way the Jewish leaders felt about Jesus. He was garbage, excrement; something for them to scrape off the heel of their shoe and be rid of.

Matthew, Mark and Luke (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10, 11; Luke 20:17) all recorded Jesus' use of a prophecy contained in one of David's writings. "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes." Psalm 118 22, 23 I have talked to some old time builders who have basically said that if a stone is not fit for the foundation it is not fit to be a cornerstone. It's garbage; building excrement. Yet, David wrote about it, God commanded it and Jesus applied it.

That which was deemed worthless, useless, a bother by the Jewish leaders has become the starting point of spiritual life; the point of origin from which our relationship with God emanates. "For no other foundation can be laid than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:11 Jesus was literally rejected for life; our life.

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