Have you heard of the “Wild Duck of Denmark”? Well then, let me introduce you…
“A wild duck was flying northward with his mates across Europe during the springtime. En route, he happened to land in a barnyard in Denmark, where he quickly made friends with the tame ducks that lived there. The wild duck enjoyed the corn and fresh water. He decided to stay for an hour, then for a day, then for a week, and finally, for a month. At the end of that time, he contemplated flying to join his friends in the vast North land, but he had begun to enjoy the safety of the barnyard, and the tame ducks had made him feel so welcome. So he stayed for the summer.
One autumn day, when his wild mates were flying south, he heard their quacking. It stirred him with delight, and he enthusiastically flapped his wings and rose into the air to join them. Much to his dismay, he found that he could rise no higher than the eaves of the barn. As he waddled back to the safety of the barnyard, he muttered to himself, “I’m satisfied here, I have plenty of food, and the area is good. Why should I leave?” So, he spent the winter on the farm.
In the spring, when the wild ducks flew overhead again, he felt a strange stirring within his breast, but he did not even try to fly up to meet them. When they returned in the fall, they again invited him to rejoin them, but this time, the duck did not even notice them. There was no stirring within his breast. He simply kept on eating corn which made him fat.”
This little parable, courtesy of Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard, was used to provoke the state church of Denmark to rise from its slumber. It remains a necessary challenge to us today. Peter has laboured to detail earlier in his first letter all that God has done for his people: the granting, by his mercy, of a new living hope (1:3); a new inheritance (1:4); new joy (1:6); and a new power in which to live life now, and by which we confidently expect external life with Him (1:5,9). With this in mind, our new faith and trust in Him granting forgiveness for the past, and a sure hope for our future, ought to result in a new way of life today. New spiritual life ought to result in new behaviour (1 Peter 4:2-6)! But like our wayward, tamed duck, we continue to feast upon the pleasant, convenient, fare the world offers. Peter exhorts us to ignore sinful distractions and leave the past where it is – behind us; pressing onward toward the will of God for us. And his will is that we would lay aside false hopes, wayward sensuality, and boundless passions (4:3). Instead, we ‘prepare our minds for action and set our hope fully on the grace of Jesus Christ’ (cf 1:13), thus directing our energies and passions toward pleasing him rather than ourselves.
Missional Action Prayer: Lord, thank you for what you have saved me from and to! By your Spirit, help me to live now for you rather than self to your glory.