It’s hard to try being something we’re not. When God made the sparrow, He made it small, light, and quick. It can dart through tree branches better than a taxi cab driver weaving through traffic in New York City. The tiny bird is known for the pretty chirping sound it makes and for its distinct brown and white color. It’s a beautiful creature.

Now contrast the sparrow with the oriole. When God made the oriole, He gave it a bright yellow and black color which easily stands out. This bird is bigger, brighter, and more noticeable than the sparrow. Most would say it is more beautiful than the sparrow.

Both the sparrow and oriole are beautiful birds in their own right. But they are beautiful in different ways. If the sparrow tried to imitate the oriole, it couldn’t even come close. The same is true of the oriole trying to become a sparrow. They are what they are because God made them that way. That’s the way God wanted them to be, and they accept it.

You’ll never see sparrows and orioles walking around with an inferiority complex. You won’t ever see them holding their heads in their wings depressed because they wish God made them differently. But you will find a lot of people like this. We see lighter-skinned people who are trying to be darker (the concept behind tanning salons) and darker-skinned people who want to be lighter. We see men who want to be like women and women who wish they were men. The same goes for businesspeople, athletes, medical professionals, and ordinary people like you and me. Everyone (or at least many people) wants to be like someone else. Very few people are content to be who they are.

We could all stand to learn from the sparrow and oriole. Maybe you’re small like the sparrow — don’t try to be an oriole. Maybe you stand out like the oriole — don’t try to be a sparrow. God didn’t make a mistake when He created you. Accept yourself for who you are and let His beauty shine through you. His plan requires that you use the exact qualities He has given you. Don’t sell yourself short.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder