by Pastor Tim Burt
Perry was a troubled teenager. His father abandoned the family when Perry was just a baby. His mother struggled to work long hours to make ends meet. Perry, almost always left unsupervised, hung out with whoever was around. That often led to hanging out with other troubled kids his age. He had gotten into trouble with the law a few times and was too often in trouble at school.
There were very few things that ever brought Perry any joy in his life except a talent he developed by accident. He loved watching birds and tried to imitate their calls and songs by whistling. He became very good at imitating many different birds. He loved to call birds to him and feed them little scraps of bread.
One night, Perry had a dream. In the dream, God spoke to him and said, “Perry, I created you to do great things in this world. You have a purpose, and you can do anything you set your mind to.” Perry woke up feeling different. He had never had a dream like that before and really believed it was God that spoke to him. He felt something he had never felt before. Hopeful. He viewed himself as less than ordinary, not very smart, and not good at anything, except maybe at his bird whistling. It was the only thing He could imagine that God was talking to Him about. Could this have something to do with his dream? Could this be his newfound purpose?
The next day, Perry couldn’t stop thinking about the dream and what he should do about it. He put some bread in a bag and headed to the park. He found a location with a bench where he sat down and started calling birds to him. A few kids in the park noticed what he was doing and came over to watch. They were in awe, and Perry could see it. He tutored them on how to whistle like a bird and how to feed the birds so they would not be afraid. The excitement amongst them was incredible. Perry experienced the joy of bringing others joy for the first time in his life. He looked up at the sky and said in his heart “God, is this what you were talking to me about?” He didn’t hear an answer, but he felt so good inside. That was enough for him. And on top of it, he made a couple of friends with boys his age who asked if he would teach them how to whistle as he did. Before long, they became great friends. They were his age, and he knew they were good for him.
Perry returned to the park day after day. His mother wanted to know why he was suddenly eating so much bread. He told her that he loved bread, and she was content with that because he seemed to be staying out of trouble. As the days went by, more and more kids showed up at the park to watch and listen to Perry call birds and feed them. Soon he was entertaining a group of kids every day after school. They would watch him call the birds and would try to imitate the calls as Perry did.
One day, Perry had an especially funny moment with the kids. He was calling a pigeon, and the pigeon flew down and snatched the bread right out of his hand. Then it perched on the baseball cap on Perry’s head. It proceeded to poop all over Perry. The kids laughed hysterically, and Perry laughed too. For Perry, it was a day he would never forget!
Perry started to feel like he had a purpose in life and he remembered what God had said to him in his dream. He knew he had to make something of himself. He started to take his studies seriously and within a year’s time, he had become a star student! His mother was bewildered but amazed and thankful. His teachers were mystified at what produced such a change in him. He eventually graduated at the top of his class and received a full-ride scholarship to college.
In college, Perry graduated with a degree in counseling and psychology. He learned how to help teens who were struggling with their lives. He remembered what it was like to feel lost, alone, and aimless. He wanted to help others find their purpose, just as he had.
After college, Perry started working at a local youth center. He helped teens who were struggling with drugs, gangs, and family problems. He used his talent for whistling and bird calls to entertain the kids and build their trust. They looked up to him as a role model.
Perry eventually became happily married, and had three sons; one became a veterinarian, one became a pastor, and one became a psychologist. Perry finished his life as an elder in his church and a folk hero in the community. All of this goodness started with a simple dream of God, telling him that he had a purpose, and Perry responding to and pursuing the one thing he knew how to do. His life felt like a dream come true. He had made a difference in the lives of others and he knew he had accomplished what God had created him to do.
How about you? What can you use to be a blessing? Where might it lead you?
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, I’d love to know. Click here: FreshMannaFeedback