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Dr. John & Company Blog

Heart and Song

May 19, 2023

A while back, my wife and I decided we wanted another heartbeat in the house. Age, energy and strata rules narrowed our choices, so we decided on a bird. Not just any feathered friend. We wanted a songbird. We had a canary years ago and welcomed the soft tuneful sounds. So, we scoured the stores and came home with a bright red canary we dubbed “Chip.” We had assurance that Chip would sing, but the guarantee came with a two-week limit. We filled those 14 days with tutorials. We played music from Mozart to Beachboys. He preferred neither. We surrounded him with YouTube mentors – to no avail. It turned out that Chip had a heart but no song. We cashed in our warranty and came home with another prospect we named “Chuck.” Chuck is a yellow feathered diva who floods the house with tunes. We can’t shut him up! From the first glimmer of sun to the setting of the same – Chuck sings. We once clocked him at 90 minutes straight without taking a breath. He not only has a heart – but an unstoppable carol.

You may question my reference to Chuck’s noise as a carol, but that’s how I hear it. His notes are more than instinct or a call for a friend. It is praise – the melody of creation at full volume. Chuck is simply doing what God made canaries to do. I may be irked by him fulfilling his purpose at the crack of dawn, but praise is always timely and ought to be incessant. Jesus said that stones would become a choir where human voices failed (Lu.19:40). So, when Chuck sings with enthusiasm, I hear the tune of God’s handiwork echoing to His praise.

It’s a lesson for me. Chip and Chuck are both canaries with melodious ability. Both have a heart, but only one has a song. We are granted the grace of life in Jesus. God has transplanted hearts of stone with a heart that lives. And our new heart holds a new song. It is an ovation of praise shaped by our words, actions, attitudes and harmonies. Our accolades are to be from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same! (Ps.113:3). But, I can be Chip-like. My heart song is stifled too easily. Too many rainy days in a row. Too many challenges to confront and too much languor of spirit. I can list the weights which press me, but the lightness and flight of praise is still called for and worthy of our Lord. Chuck is confined in a cage all by himself. He eats seeds for supper. He faces the winter gloom out his window. He has no great purpose to fulfill – except to sing. So he sings. And God smiles.

Scott Tolhurst

Scott Tolhurst

Scott and his wife have spent almost 50 years following God together through life, marriage and ministry. They’ve hop scotched across Canada and landed at the water’s edge on Vancouver Island. They’ve harvested the riches of family (5 grandkids!) and the delights of God’s people. Life has not always been clear but the fog has been pierced with these truths. The heart matters. Kingdom work is God’s. Nothing can replace faith. It never ceases to amaze Scott that, if his life is a gift, how great the Giver must be!


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