There is an interesting bird found on the south island of New Zealand. It is a large member of the parrot family, and it is known as the Kea.

My first introduction to the Kea was en route to Milford Sound, in the Fiordland of the South Island of New Zealand. Our intention was to hike down to the Chasm, a spot along the Cleddau River where the water disappears into a narrow chasm leaving behind strangely shaped rocks and potholes. But our trek was stopped before I got out of the car. As I opened the car door, I was met by a good-sized, greenish bird, with a large hooked beak and the characteristic parrot toe-pattern of two toes towards the front, and two toes towards the back.

I had heard about the Kea, and had been hoping to see one, but I was taken completely by surprise when he came up and started investigating my shoes!

I already knew that human interaction with the Kea was highly discouraged, so I was happy when he turned away for other distractions. It wasn’t long however, before our vehicle became his “other distraction”! He soon flew up to the top of our rented Toyota and began pulling at the rubber gasket around the doors!

We would learn that the Kea is known for stealing the rubber from cars. They don’t eat it, as is sometimes assumed, instead, they play with it. And your shoelaces, and any garbage you leave behind. We soon understood why they are known as the local clowns.

Sadly, the playful Kea is endangered. They are infamous for killing sheep, and in 1880 a bounty was placed on their heads. The bounty was not lifted until 1971, and the Kea was not brought under the protection of the government until 1986.

Though protected, Kea young continue to be threatened by introduced species such as possums and stoats, and adult birds continue to be threatened by exotic avian diseases, the unknown effects of global warming on New Zealand Alpine habitats, and by their human contact, which often leads to lead poisoning. It is now believed that there are fewer than 5,000 remaining in the wild.

It’s sad, but with their fascination for killing and stealing, they have brought this upon themselves! I don’t know about you, but I want more for my life than stealing rubber from cars and laces from shoes! I want to be known as more than a local clown. I want to strive for a meaningful life in Christ!

How can I do that?

Certainly not by following the example of the Kea.

Fortunately, the Bible shows us a better way: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:8-10 NIV)

Basically, the road to the meaningful life means humility! It means that we hate the old way of life enough that we grieve, mourn and wail!

Remember, this “better way” doesn’t stem from being sin-free. None of us will ever achieve that state here on Earth. Instead it comes from HATING wickedness in all of its forms! It comes from identifying those deep, dark places in our hearts and HATING them!

But this is only half of the secret. Ps. 45:7a gives us a clue to the other half: “You love righteousness and hate wickedness …” (NIV)

In other words, while you hate what is wicked, you must also long for what is pure! “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil 4:8 NIV)

The grieving and wailing don’t sound like a lot of fun to us, but there IS a reward for hating wickedness and loving righteousness: “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” (Ps 45:7)

Friends, Keas may be cute, but they are also pests, and worse, are endangered. If you strive, as I do, to live a meaningful life that leads to life eternal, then take this advice to heart: Love righteousness and hate wickedness. Yes, it means humbling ourselves. Yes, it means wailing and mourning. But in the end, it also means – joy!

Lyn Chaffart , Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, , with Answers2Prayer Ministries,


The Kea