Bird in a Cage (4/18/14)

“A Boston preacher, Dr. S. D. Gordon, placed a beat up, bent and rusted bird cage beside his pulpit and told its story:
     An unkempt, unwashed little lad about ten was coming up the alley swinging an old caved-in bird cage with several tiny birds shivering on the floor of it.
     The compassionate Dr. Gordon asked, “Where did you get the birds?” The lad said, “I’m just going to play with them and have fun with them.” The preacher said, “Sooner or later you’re going to get tired of them. What will you do with them then?”
    “O I have some cats at home. They like birds; I’ll just feed them to my cats.” Dr. Gordon asked, “How much do you want for the birds?” The boy, surprised, hesitated, and then said, “Mister, you don’t want to buy these birds. They are just plain old field birds. They have no color and they can’t sing and they’re ugly.”
    “Just you name the price and tell me how much you want for them”, the preacher said. The grubby little lad thought about it, squinted one eye, calculated, hesitated and said, “I’ll take two dollars”.
     To his surprise, Dr. Gordon reached in his pocket, handed the lad two one dollar bills, took the cage, and the boy in a wink had disappeared down the alley. In a sheltered crevice between buildings, Dr. Gordon opened the door of the cage and gently tapping on the rusty exterior he encouraged the frightened little birds to make their escape. One by one they found the narrow door and flew away.
     Thus having accounted for the empty cage beside the pulpit, the preacher went on to tell what seemed at first like a separate story.
     It seemed that Jesus and Satan were engaged in a negotiation. Satan boasted how he had baited a cage in Eden’s garden and caught a world full of people. “What do you plan to do with all these people in your cage?” Jesus asked. “I’m going to play with them, tease and entice them, show them all the bright lights of fun and fantasy, make them envious where they will fight and kill one another”, Satan replied. Jesus then asked, “What will you do when you get tired of playing with them?” “Damn them, they are no good anyway,” came the hellish reply.
     Jesus then asked, “How much do you want for them? How much are they worth?” Satan said, “You can’t be serious. If I sell them to you, they will just spit on you, hate you, hit you, and hammer nails into you. They’re no good”.
     Jesus said, “How much?”
    Satan said, “All your tears and all your blood – that’s the price.” Jesus took the cage, paid the price and opened the door!”