Flightless— an article on purpose

Flightless— an article on purpose

Cassowaries don’t complain about flight, nor do penguins become enemies with ice. - Michael Apa

Let’s chat animals for a bit. 


The cassowary is a large, flightless bird native to the island of New Guinea (both the Western and Eastern parts). In the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, cassowaries are a valuable commodity; so valuable that its head is drawn in the middle of the provincial flag. Cassowaries are poultry— domesticated for their eggs and meat— and are exchanged as gifts in traditional ceremonies like weddings and compensations (peace offerings). 

If cassowaries could fly (which would be a terrifying sight— they’re almost six feet tall and between 120-170 lbs) and somehow retain their speed on land of 30 mph in the air, these Jurassic-esque birds would be exponentially dangerous and likely be extinct. The only thing these birds seem to lack is the keel in their breastbones required to anchor pectoral muscles for flight, and wings comparable to their massive body. Their tree-trunk legs, giant feet and 5” in claws are just a few of its traits that make me thankful that God chose to make some birds flightless. We can also learn something about Him and our role on this earth through this massive bird. 

In Job 13:17, the ostrich– the cassowary’s cousin– is described as “having no understanding” and that “God has made her forget wisdom”. However, God is perfect and all birds He made were good in His sight (Genesis 1:20-22). We can still learn something about God from cassowaries since “He chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27). 

A few important Biblical concepts that I’ve realized through this bird is that we should:


1). seek out our unique purpose in Christ (Psalms 90:12, Col. 1:16).

2). become valuable through Christ in the time and place that we are in (Matt. 5:13-16, Mark 9:49-50).

3). not focus on other birds that can fly (Exodus 20:17, 1 Cor. 12:14-20).



While significantly smaller in size, there is another flightless bird I think we can learn a lot from; this one is entirely less deadly, covered in blubber, and located primarily on the Poles. The penguin spends its life on the ice and in the water, its body built for gliding through the arctic deserts, not the air.

Penguins spend 75% of their lives in the water, diving and darting for food in droves. But its the ice that the penguins survival depends. The ice is where they breed, feed and molt.

Similar to the cassowary, the female penguin leaves her egg behind, but instead of simply abandoning it like the cassowary, the penguin entrusts her egg with the father so that he might protect it from the elements during the harshest winters on earth, while she goes out on a death-defying mission to find food and bring it back to her growing family. This all happens on the ice. They are also considered easy prey in the water, where leopard seals and killer whales abound. Without the ice, or if perhaps, penguins decided to make enemies of the ice, simply because of its few disadvantages (like the extreme weather, and as a slower means of travel), penguins would be defenseless and powerless to the great enemies of the deep. They’d make a great few feasts before quickly becoming extinct. 

Even though we see the ice (symbolic of adversity), God has the answer and will provide a way out (1 Cor. 10:13), making it possible for us to slide across the ice and into the water to get the fish. Our physical eyes say we can’t do it (Numbers 13:31-33), but God has planted a seed of faith (Matt. 17:20-21, 13:31-32) in each of us that becomes our shield (Ephesians 6:16), allowing us to overcome obstacles (Philippians 4:13, 19).  


That’s all for now! This was a lot of fun to write. Thank you for reading. This article was based on my newest two-liner:


 “Cassowaries don’t complain about flight, nor do penguins become enemies with ice.”

If you liked what I had to say and want to support One Little Big Shop’s effort to speak truth into the lives of those who are hurting, you can get our original design based  on this article SOON! Follow us on our socials ( FBInstagramPinterest ) to keep updated on the release. This design is a great momento if you’ve ever visited Papua New Guinea, or consider the island home and the great cassowary is a part of your heritage. You could also get it if you just really love penguins, like my wife ;)  

I’d love to hear what you think. 

More to come, 


NOTE: We have included all sources for animal facts and photography in this 
Google document in an effort to keep this article looking clean. Feel free to fact check by clinking the hyperlink and following the sources. 

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