Old MacCameron Had a Farm
I've always wanted a chicken. I love farm animals of all kinds, but there is something about those fuzzy little birds that I am particularly fond of. Luke, my four-year-old son, recently hatched some chicks in his pre-school classroom and I practically trampled some toddlers on my way to the brooder to see them. I was jealous of those kids for having chickens, and I finally broke down--I determined to get my own. But I couldn't just go to the store and buy them, because I am a married man. Married men don't do such selfish things without first consulting with their wives.
So I devised a plan to convince Chelsea to welcome these fowl creatures into our family. Here's what I did: One morning, I suggested that Chelsea get away for a few hours and relax while I watched the kids. While she was gone, I took my three youngest children on a field trip to the local farm animal feed store (where I knew they sold the cutest baby chicks in town) and let my two-, three-, and four-year-old children each select and hold their favorite chicks, name them, and carry them in their arms for an hour. As we left the store, my babies had tears in their eyes, not wanting to leave the chickens behind. I then asked the kids, "If you were to have chicks of your own, do you think you could take very good care of them?"
"Yes, yes!" they replied. "Oh, please, Daddy! Can we please get some baby chicks?"
"We'll, it's okay with me, but you'll have to ask your mother," I replied, as any responsible husband would. "But if you really want a chick," I said, "you'll have to tell your mommy how much you truly love chicks and promise to take good care of them every day. Would you kids like to tell your mommy that?" I asked.
"Oh, yes, Daddy! We'll tell her as soon as we get home! Thank you, Daddy! Thank you!" my little girl Olivia exclaimed.
The deal was done. There was no turning back. How could my wife possibly resist the plea of her own precious little daughter? I could practically smell the fresh eggs. In my mind, I had already become a chicken farmer.
My plan to secure some chickens at home worked like a charm. Two weeks later my sons and I were building a chicken coop in the backyard, complete with rafters to perch on, nests to lay eggs in, and hay to scratch on. We purchased the chicks (one for each of our six children) and let the kids name them: Angel, Gloria, Jasmine, Blackie, James, and Cutie Pie.
Having chickens has taught me a few things about God. I've learned that none of us are natural born followers of Christ. Each of us had to come out of our shell, mount up with wings as eagles, and lay aside our lives for the sake of the gospel. We had to learn not to "flock together" with our sinful, worldly minded friends as we did before we came to Christ, and instead be set apart, transformed by the renewing of our minds. Becoming a Christian has put us low on the world's pecking order, but we know that God has "chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and... the weak things...to confound the things which are mighty; and... the base things...and things which are despised...and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are" (1 Corinthians 1:27,28). It's good to be a lowly creature, because as lowly Christians, we are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).
Three months later, the chickens are now full-grown and not so cute. They make more messes than my six kids combined and they still don't lay eggs. I regularly make chicken soup for dinner in hopes that the steaming aroma will drift across the chicken coop in the backyard, reminding those freeloading feathered friends to lay some eggs soon . . . or else.
I still love chickens. They're fun to watch and good to eat. But more than that, they are a daily reminder to me of the lowly creature that I am, and how cowardly I would act without the power of Christ to help me live as I ought.
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