One Sunday, George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town, came into church carrying a bent, rusty bird cage, and placed it on the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak:
I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this old bird cage. On the bottom of the cage crouched three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What you got there, son?” “Just some old birds,” came the reply. “What are you gonna do with them?” I asked. “Take ‘em home and have fun with ‘em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ‘em and pull out their feathers to make ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a good time.” “But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?” “Oh, I got some cats,” said the boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ‘em to them.”
The pastor was silent for a moment.
“How much do you want for those birds, son?” “Huh?! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!” “How much?” I asked again. The boy sized me up as if I were crazy and said, “$10?” Reaching into my pocket I took out a ten-dollar bill and placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash he was gone. I picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, I opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars I coaxed the birds out, setting them free.
Well, that explained the empty bird cage. Then the pastor continued …
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes sir, I just caught those people down there. Set me a trap and used me some bait I knew they could never resist. Got ‘em both!” “What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked. Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have some fun! When they get married, I’m gonna work on them to get divorced. If they try to love each other I’ll teach them to hate and abuse each other. I’m gonna give ‘em a good time drinking, smoking and partying. I’m gonna have ‘em use weapons to kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!” “And what will you do when you get done with them?” asked Jesus. “Oh, I’ll dump ‘em,” Satan said proudly. “How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked. “Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. You don’t want those people!” “How much?” He asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, sweat and tears. I want your life.” “DONE!” said Jesus. And the price was paid.
His message over, the pastor picked up the cage, left the pulpit, and walked out of the church.