by Larry Magnuson


Hummingbirds are amazing creatures. Here in the mountains we enjoy them by the hundreds from May to August. Then these tiny creatures migrate all the way to Mexico. Hard to believe! Consider a few facts about these tiny remarkable creatures:

  • Hummingbirds are very intelligent with the ability to remember each flower they have visited and how long the flower needs for nectar refilling before they return.
  • Hummingbird wings move at 70 times a second requiring a tremendous amount of energy and an average of 1,000 flower visits per day.
  • In flight the hummingbird heart rate reaches 1200 beats per minute dropping to 250 during periods of rest.
  • Each night the hummingbird enters a hibernation-like state called torpor which helps them conserve energy.

It was in 1995 while Barbara and I attended a SonScape retreat when God opened my eyes to the incredible truths hummingbirds have to offer us. As I sat on the deck early one morning, I watched hummingbirds feeding on the feeder that hung above me. Like us, their lives are full and busy. Yet to survive they have learned the value of rest!

Sometimes they stopped at the feeder for a short drink while still in flight, wings moving at an astounding speed and then off they went. But there were other times they stopped and drank long and deep, absorbing so much of what the feeder had to offer. I wonder how long they could survive if they tried to live only on the fast, short times at the feeder.

The same is true for us. There are times when rest, prayer, Scripture, and play comes in short bursts along the fast pace of our lives. But if we neglect the times of longer, deeper rest and reflection, we lose what is so needed to remain healthy.

As we begin this new year with all the problems and possibilities that lie ahead, perhaps we need to sit for awhile with our calendars and map out when we will take longer periods for rest, prayer, study, reflection, and play. Those times that allow us to have deep healing and renewal. Times to stay the course of life and ministry God has laid out for us. Perhaps even a few times of rest and refreshment so deep it is almost like a hibernation, a torpor, from the pressures life brings.

Take time to learn from the hummingbird who is so tiny and yet so wise.

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
Mark 6:31b