Lessons from a Moorhen

There was a young moorhen on the millpond the other day. When they are first hatched, they are tiny yellow-brown balls of fluff, not looking at all like their parents. But this one was quite a bit bigger, still keeping close to its parent for safety, and beginning to look much more like a moorhen.

Safety for a believer is found in keeping close to the Lord Jesus – reading and meditating on His word, hearing His word preached, obeying it, talking with Him in prayer.

The plain duty of a true Christian is, to live provided with an antidote against all fears of the great unseen world. That antidote is faith in an unseen Saviour, and constant communion with Him. Armed with that antidote, and seeing Him who is invisible, nothing need make us afraid. We travel on towards a world of spirits. We are surrounded even now by many dangers. But with Jesus for our Shepherd, we have no cause for alarm. With Him for our Shield, we are safe.” (J C Ryle)

And as we keep close to Him, so the Holy Spirit works in us to make us more like Him.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4)

Of course, a baby moorhen does not become like its parent just by keeping close to it. A duckling would still be a duckling however much time it spent swimming with moorhens. A bird has to be born a moorhen to be one! And we do not become like the Lord Jesus simply by outward observance, but only by being born into God’s family; not of ourselves, but by the grace of God.

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

When this passing world is done,

When has sunk yon radiant sun,

When I stand with Christ on high,

Looking o’er life’s history,

Then, Lord, shall I fully know,

Not till then, how much I owe.


When I stand before the throne,

Dressed in beauty not my own,

When I see Thee as Thou art,

Love Thee with unsinning heart,

Then, Lord, shall I fully know,

Not till then, how much I owe.


When the praise of heaven I hear,

Loud as thunders to the ear,

Loud as many waters’ noise,

Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,

Then, Lord, shall I fully know,

Not till then, how much I owe.


Chosen, not for good in me,

Wakened up from wrath to flee,

Hidden in the Saviour’s side,

By the Spirit sanctified,

Teach me, Lord, on earth to show

By my love, how much I owe.


Robert Murray M’Cheyne