Ever hear of an African Christmas tree? This is what it looks like.Dozens of vultures roosting in a dead tree,
just waiting for some dead meat for lunch. Doesn’t sound very pretty, does it? And…who likes vultures, anyway? Aren’t they sort of the offscourings of the world? Well, all that changed for me when we went to Africa
and discovered that vultures have gotten a bad rap. They are so universally considered disreputable that they have been mistreated until they’re the world’s #1 endangered species. I had no clue. Furthermore, they are an important part of our ecosystem,
serving as the world’s morticians and garbage collectors.Polishing off carcasses ASAP helps prevent diseases from spreading. So fierce has been their persecution and demise that I’ve had a change of heart toward them, and they’re now on my “favorite birds” list. Let me tell you about our vulture culture experience.Ever hear of a restaurant that caters to vultures by serving free carcasses? Well, neither had I until we stayed at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
in Zimbabwe, where they have started working with Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust
to help save vultures from extinction. Every day at 1:00 pm they serve up yummy carcasses
at their “Vulture Restaurant.” It was very windy the day we watched, but pretty soon the debris and leaves gave way to the air being filled with circling vultures, who knew it was almost time for some claw-licking’ good fine dinin’.A few minutes before 1:00, the waiter arrived with a load of gourmet delights.I was surprised at how politely the vultures awaited their luncheon party. As the crowd grew, there was definitely an electric feeling…great expectations!Get on your mark, get set…Gooooooo!!!A feeding frenzy followed for about fifteen minutes,replete with party crashers, in particular some gangly marabou storksand a couple of Pumba’s cousins…totally muddied warthogs.If you’ll forgive the comparison…we humans can be a little like vultures. Sometimes it’s easier to live off others
than it is to work hard providing for ourselves.Some people become very unpopular and develop bad reputations.I am thankful that God is a kind Father who provides for all who will come. He doesn’t turn anyone away…no matter how awkward, dirty or ugly we are!Furthermore, He encourages us to do the same for those who need our help.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45).