A fool thinks he needs no advice, but a wise man listens to others.


An ancient fable has it that the magpie is the best nest-builder among all the birds. And, according to the story, once-upon-a-time all the birds gathered about the magpie to learn her technique.

"First, we find a nice sheltered spot." said the magpie. At this point the eagle flew away crying, "I know, I know!:

"Wait!: shouted the magpie. "There is much more." But the eagle was out of hearing, and henceforth made its next in a sheltered crag among the rocks, thinking this the ultimate.

"Next, we interface some sticks to form a pocket," said the magpie. At this the crow flew away cawing, "I know, I know."

"There is more--much more!" cried the magpie; but the crow was gone, to build her nest of sticks, and brag that it was the finest of nests.

And so it went. Each bird was content with only part of the instructions and flew away before the full story, with it relation of parts, could be told. According to the story, the magpie is still the only bird that builds a perfect nest.

Think of this fable and its moral the next time you hear some preacher say salvation is by faith ONLY. While it is true that the New Testament says we are saved by faith; it also says we are saved by HOPE (Rom. 8:24) But we fly away with partial instructions when we conclude salvation is by "faith only" or "hope only."

A good concordance will show you there are many elements in salvation. We are saved by GRACE (Titus 2:11) HOPE (Rom.  8:24) FAITH (Luke 8:12 WORD (James 1:21 Baptism (1 Peter 3:21 GOSPEL (1 Cor. 15:2 and "more, much more."

Of course CHRIST saves us. (John 4:42) but there is a sense in which we SAVE OURSELVES (Acts 2:40). We are saved by the BLOOD, WORKS, LOVE  OF THE TRUTH, and CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD; and that without contradiction or conflict. All are related in God's one great scheme of redemption. To illustrate this inter-relation, read the following carefully:

Merciful God sent His Son to shed His blood and by His Holy Spirit revealed His truth, that all who will hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized, may thus put on Christ, being sanctified (set apart) (added to His church): and being faithful until death may have a home in heaven.

This is not set forth as the whole of God's plan, nor do I seek to put the PLAN before the MAN. We must not fall into the error of the Pharisees by accepting one command or part of truth to exclusion of others. We must seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

There are great foundation truths, generic in their nature, which embrace and include particular truths; just as the necessity for obedience (Heb. 5:9) makes the thing commanded necessary (Acts 2:38). And he is a foolish "bird" indeed who changes or ignores any instruction from the builder of earth and heaven.

(Plain Talk, Vol 1, No 8, August 1964)

Back to Soul Food Index