Faithfully yours - Consider the Franklin's gulls


By Neil Strohschein

Neepawa Banner & Press

My early years were spent on a farm in rural Alberta. I was the first of three “home made hired men” who, along with our mom, helped my dad build a successful mixed farm. The youngest of the hired men took over the farm when dad retired. Today, he and his son raise beef cattle on the home quarter—the rest of the land is rented to a neighboring grain farmer.

During the summer months, I spent a lot of time on our farm tractor (an old JI Case 930) pulling a 14 ft. cultivator back and forth across fields in which no crop had been sown. Wherever I happened to be on any given day, I was never alone. I was always followed by a flock of at least 100 Franklin’s gulls (we called them black headed sea gulls) who were joined by about two dozen Herring gulls (the larger, white-headed sea gulls); all of whom were looking for good food and the equipment I pulled unearthed a feast that they loved to consume.

The Franklin’s gulls were fun to watch. One in particular would fly about four feet above the ground, right behind the cultivator. This gull would look straight down and when it spotted an insect, it would put on its air brakes, drop to the ground, snatch its prey, eat and be back in the same spot again, all within 10 seconds.

The Herring gulls weren’t interested in the smaller insects. They wanted mice; and after catching two or three and swallowing them whole, they flew off and sat on nearby fence posts watching (and probably laughing at) the Franklin’s gulls that took all day to eat until they were satisfied—something a Herring gull could do in less than 30 minutes.

To this day, I marvel at how focused these amazing creatures were. They were never distracted. They had one goal in mind—finding food. And to do that, they needed to keep their eyes on the furrow in front of them. They had no time to enjoy the scenery or look to see what their neighbors were doing. They had to keep their eyes on the ground—so that they wouldn’t miss the next tasty morsel that came their way.

In three days, we will celebrate the beginning of a new calendar year. It will be ushered in with the usual concerts, fireworks and other festivities. Parades and college football games will keep some of us glued to our television sets for the rest of the day. But after the parties have ended, reality will set in and people will, once again, have to deal with the problems, challenges and uncertainties that came with them into the new year.

As people of faith, we can face the coming days without fear. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future in his hands. God may not save us from times of trial, but he will be at our side to walk through them with us.

The Franklin’s gulls don’t worry about the future. They trust God to supply their daily needs—and he does.

God asks us to do the same—to leave the future in his hands; but to give him full control of our time, talent and treasure for each new day. Then, as we go about our daily tasks, we seek the help of his Spirit so that we may love, accept, forgive and help everyone we meet as he has loved, accepted, forgiven and is helping us.