Lessons Learned From the GeeseSeptember 14, 2016 | Winston Gosse
Here are some interesting statistics about this magnificent bird, the Canada goose:
- It has a wingspan ranging from 4' 2" (1.27 m) to 6' 1" (1.85 m).
- It has lifespan of 10 to 24 years in the wild.
- The length of its body can range from 2' 6" to 3' 7" (0.75 m to 1.10 m).
According to population estimates, Canada geese now number over 3 million nationwide, and they have been implicated in a number of bird strikes by aircraft. Their large size and tendency to fly in flocks no doubt make them contributors to this situation. In fact in the United States, the Canada goose is the second-most damaging bird when striking an aircraft's engine.
Despite this negative fact, there is much we can learn from this wonderful creature!
Many of us have seen them flying in their familiar "V" formation, and we may wonder why this is done. An analysis of this flying formation can be very instructive, demonstrating the importance of working together, being in unity, and encouraging each other.
By flying in the "V" formation, the flapping of each bird's wings creates uplift for the bird that follows it, whereby the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird were flying alone. If one bird falls out of formation, it will suddenly feel drag and resistance. It will then seek to return to the flock and away from isolation. The result is a natural sense of community and common purpose, giving direction and focus for each animal.
This sense and need of belonging is seemingly intuitive for most humans as well, but it is of vital need for a Christian and takes the form of being attached to the Body of Christ-the Church. This points us to the important principle found in Proverb 18:1 where God warns us that "[a] man who isolates himself seeks his own desire." For true Christians, being attached to the Body of Christ is so important in maintaining focus and direction.
Another interesting benefit and lesson learned in watching geese fly together in formation comes from noticing how the geese behind those in the front tend to honk, essentially to provide encouragement to those ahead of them to keep going and keep up speed. We all have heard, it seems, this incessant honking, but it is for good purpose.
As Christians who are a part of Christ's flock and formation, we are also there to provide encouragement to each other to keep looking and reaching for those things which are ahead. Proverbs 12:25 states, "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad."
Christians are to exhort and encourage each other along the path that leads to eternal life, just as the geese encourage each other as they fly together toward their destination. So there is much to learn from this part of the creation that God has put in place. Let's learn these vital and important lessons from the geese-lessons of unity, purpose and encouragement.
If you would like to learn more about Christianity, read online or order a free print copy of What Is a True Christian?.
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