The Bible has many surprises for those who wade into its pages. For example, my friend, Kent Millard, shared with me part of an absorbing speech by Dr. Leonard Sweet. Sweet offers a quirky illustration derived from the book of Lamentations. Dr. Sweet told in his speech that hanging down in the center of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a huge ostrich egg. In fact, many churches in the Middle East have an ostrich egg hanging in the sanctuary.
Lamentations 4:3 refers to the ostrich as a creature of the desert. In order to protect the egg from predators, the ostrich buries the egg very deep in the desert sand so it will be safe while the mother ostrich searches for food. However, sometimes the mother buries the egg so deeply that the mother bird loses the location and can’t find the egg to continue sitting on it until the birth of the baby ostrich. Consequently, the ostrich developed the ability to keep one eye on the location of the ostrich egg and the other on looking for food. Middle Eastern churches developed the tradition of hanging an ostrich egg in the center of their sanctuary to remind the congregation to keep one eye on Christ while they were out caring for their own needs.
It’s a worthy image. We always should keep one eye on Christ while we are out in the world looking after our own needs or else we may lose the most valuable thing in the world. Can we so live our lives so that we always have one eye on Christ, asking what Jesus would do and what is Jesus doing while we are living our lives out in the world. Without our continuous effort it is easy for us to lose focus on Christ and allow other concerns and commitments to take over our lives (Thanks to Kent Millard for this illustration).