We have chickens, yes we are chicken people.
We converted an old playhouse to a coop and we receive about five eggs a day from our fluffy, feathered females. Our pets/breakfast makers have actually taught me a lot about Jesus… let me explain.
Jesus spoke in parables often. It was His way of making confusing things more simple. He keeps things on a third-grade level for us, and this is yet another reason why I am such a big fan of His.
One of the parables Jesus used most often (35 times to be exact) refers to you and me as sheep. It made sense to the 1st century Christians because many of them owned, or at least worked with
sheep. Fast forward to today. Including myself, I know approximately zero people who own sheep.
I do, however, have chickens and in a lot of ways, I think the two are very similar. They both travel in flocks for safety, they both find trouble without a guide, and they both have an insatiable curiosity for what is on the other side of the fence.
Our birds live at the equivalent of a chicken Ritz Carlton. They have an abundance of food, water, chicken friends, extracurricular activities, and ample free range space in our yard. Despite their chicken paradise, these less than brilliant animals always think we are holding out on them.
About a year ago, our favorite chicken, Lucy, (I am told we should have named her Teriyaki) learned how to get to the top of the neighbors eight-foot private fence. She would fly to the top, see the neighbor’s dog, get scared, and then come back down to safety. Despite our best efforts to keep her down and safe, she always found a way to perch on the top of the fence. Early one morning, either her curiosity got the best of her, she thought she could handle the dog, or perhaps she didn’t think at all. Regardless, she flew to the other side of the fence and became a puppy play toy until her death.
Lucy saw the threat of the dog and knew she was safe in our yard, yet she still thought she “knew better” and wanted to see what was on the other side of the fence.
“When He saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”- Matthew 9:36
Jesus gives us everything we need in Him. He came to bring us life and bring it to the fullest (John 10:10). Yet, we often think we can find our own better, more fulfilling life “on the other side of the fence.” We see the threat of temptation, but we think we know better and can overcome on our own “chicken strength.”
Maybe Jesus really is a good shepherd. Maybe we really don’t have everything in this life figured out like we think we do. Maybe the one who made every cell in our body knows what is best for us and simply wants to protect us from the “dogs on the other side of the fence.”
I am prone to wander. I am prone to question God is good. I am not proud of it but I have even questioned if my shepherd really knows better than me?
I am just like a sheep and a chicken. I become convinced that my inadequately microscopic view on my life is all there is to see.
Lord, thank you for being a good shepherd. Thank you for protecting me even when I think I know better and thank you for bringing me back to the safety of your flock when I wander astray.
Thank you for being a good good, father.