The other night, I was standing out in the yard with the pets, finishing up the night, preparing for bed. Even though it’s the Winter season, I enjoy standing out for the few minutes, enjoying the quiet and stillness. As I was lost in thought I heard a faint but familiar “Honk, honk, honk.” I looked up in the moonlit sky to see a flock of geese flying over in their standard V formation. As I watched them fly over I was reminded of the research done to help us understand why they fly in this manner.
We can learn several lessons from geese.
First, the geese fly in the V formation because it is the most aerodynamically. It is the most efficient use of their energy. As one moves back in the formation the work is easier, the path of lest resistance. In 1 Peter 4:10 we read,” God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God's many kinds of blessings.” (TLB)
Secondly, the lead goose has to work the hardest. When he gets tired, he falls off into the formation for another goose to take the lead so he can rest. They each share the burden of working and leading. God instructs us to do the same. “Six days a week are for your daily duties and your regular work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest before the Lord your God. “ Ex 20:8-10 (TLB) Work hard, but remember to rest.
Thirdly, scientists believe the geese fly in the V formation to help communicate more easily. The formation makes it easier for visual contact and keeping the flock together. This decreases the risk of losing members of the flock along the way. Just as in Proverbs we are instructed to keep our eyes on our path. Prov 4:25-26 “Let your eyes look directly forward,and your gaze be straight before you. Take heed to the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.” (RSV)
Lastly, the belief that all the “honking” going on is encouragement for those in front, where the task is more difficult. This is the thought that came to me the evening I heard the flock passing over our yard, “They are encouraging each other to press on. Keep up the pace, you can do it, we are almost to our resting place…” Who do you know that needs some encouragement? Maybe it’s someone in your family, or the new mother that is struggling with the adjustments of a new baby. Perhaps it’s your friend that has just lost their spouse, or the neighbor who lost his job. It might not even be anyone you know personally, but the checker at the grocery store, or the barista at Star Bucks. We to need to encourage others. “ But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb 3:13 (NAS)
So what can we learn from geese?
1. Use your gifts and talents efficiently.
2. Work hard.
3. Rest when you need to.
4. Keep your eyes focused on the goal.
5. Encourage others daily.