Have you ever watched wild geese flying overhead, heading off for their long journey South, to warmer climes? It’s a beautiful sight, they’re very graceful birds; but the most striking and fascinating thing about this phenomenon is the V shaped formation that the geese fly in.
For some odd reason I woke up thinking about that this morning, so I looked it up and discovered some interesting things. As the modern church, we could learn a lot from geese!
Acts 2:42 ‘All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper ), and to prayer.’
Fellowship definition: Comradeship, intimacy, togetherness, camaraderie, mutual support, togetherness, to participate together towards a common goal or cause.
Before flying away for the Winter, the geese start to gather together. Why? Because they have a common goal that has been written into their very make-up, by their creator and they somehow know that they need to make this long and sometimes arduous journey together. They don’t have to even think about doing it any other way. You would never see a goose trying to make that journey alone.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
The ‘V Formation’
Geese always fly V formation and stay that in that formation until they get to their destination; you will never see a flock of geese flying in all directions. They stay together and work together as a team.
In this V formation, as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an ‘uplift’ for the bird immediately behind it. This means that if a goose begins to fall out of formation, it immediately feels the drag and resistance from the uplift, benefiting from the lifting power of the bird immediately in front, and quickly gets back into formation.
So God designed that V formation especially and perfectly. How much we could learn from this!
Philippians 2:4 tells us: “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
Team Work/Sharing the Workload
Geese teach us the importance of teamwork. If the goose at the front of the ‘V’ was expected to lead the flock the entire way covering thousands of miles, that lead goose would simply die of exhaustion. This lead goose knows instinctively when to rotate with another goose and take a break, and the other geese sense too when they are needed to move forward in the formation. All the geese pitch in and share the workload. They are focussed on one thing; their common goal;
Yet even in that focus, they still pay careful attention to the other geese in the flock. There are no ‘loners’.
Helping One Another
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
When a goose falls out of V formation because of injury or sickness, at least two other geese come alongside him and fly with him, staying with him until he is able to fly on his own again, before returning to formation. If they have been left behind by their original formation, they fly on together until they find another formation to join, as all large V formations of geese would be heading in the same direction, with the same common purpose, and these would accepted newcomers.
Wow, how much we could learn from this, too as the Church!
Did you know that the geese at the rear of the formation are the ones who do the honking? There’s a reason for this strange noise these wild geese make as they fly overhead. Their loud, repeated honks encourage those in front to ‘keep going’ and they are a very necessary and vital part of the formation. With their honks, these rear geese are letting the geese in front, especially the one who is leading the formation know, “we’re still here” – “We’re right with you”, “everything’s ok!”
Every church has a honker. Maybe yours has a few honkers. Maybe it’s you! What a precious gift these people are.
That person who is continually, perpetually encouraging others -especially the one preaching!
We have a man in our church who immediately comes to mind as I write this. Through every sermon preached, he shouts loud (genuine) “Amens” and “Yes’s” until you can’t help but catch his enthusiasm- it’s so contagious. It ripples from him to the people next to him, to the people in front of him, right up to the front to encourage whoever it is that’s preaching. Anyone from my church knows exactly who I’m talking about.
Every church needs ‘honkers’, to encourage those in leadership.
Although of course it’s not just up to those people to encourage others. We are all to encourage one another
Hebrews 3:13 “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”
So in conclusion, in thinking of geese and what we can learn from them, one thing stands out: it is the instinct of geese to work together. We are never meant to go it alone.
Whether means rotating, flapping, helping, or honking, the flock is meant to fly in formation together.
Jill Mcilreavy 💜