Let me tell you about an unusual conversation I had the other day. I was speaking with a friend who had left behind a thriving career in order to gain some much needed perspective on his life and family. During his season of reflection he wanted to do something radical. Much to his wife’s surprise – and his children’s glee – he set out to pursue his childhood dream of raising chickens.
Chickens? Rhode Island Reds to be exact.
Shedding his Bill Blass suits for blue overalls, this city slicker found a supplier who gladly shipped twenty-six, just-hatched chicks. The whole family got into the act feeding and caring for their little clutch. Within a number of months, this former executive had built a coop and started collecting more eggs than he knew what to do with. Midway through his story, he stopped and looked me in the eye.
“Jim, do you have any idea what chickens eat?”
Of course, that could be a trick question. Did he mean free-range chickens? Or, warehoused chickens raised en mass? Not wanting to complicate the issue, I played it safe: “Chicken feed?”
“Yes. But they also eat all kinds of bugs.” This was news. With a twinkle in his eye as if privy to an inside joke, he added, “Chickens eat just about anything.”
“Really? Like what?”
Leaning closer as if he were about to reveal a hot stock tip, he said, “Chickens will eat garbage. They’ll eat their own dung . . . and they’ll even eat each other!”
“Is that so?” I said, unsure where he was headed with his point.
With the zeal of a true enthusiast, he informed me that the egg is the purest form of protein known to man in the world . . . that eggs are rich in a host of vitamins including B, b12, A, E, K . . . and that eggs are one of the rare foods which contain vitamin D. While I appreciated his passion, I was still at a loss of why he was giving me so many details.
Almost reading my mind, he said, “Think about what I’m saying. In addition to feed, a chicken eats bugs, trash – even dung droppings. Yet, somehow she transforms that muck into a thing of beauty! That’s a metaphor for salvation.”
Before you cry “fowl,” he makes an interesting point.
I bet you’ve met someone who claimed there was no way they could become a Christian because of all the terrible things they’d done. They reason, wrongly, that they’re beyond repair; beyond the hope of change or inner transformation. And yet God, in His wisdom, gave us this living metaphor of what He does supernaturally when we invite Him into our hearts.
No matter what we’ve done.
No matter how bad we’ve made a mess of things.
Even if we’ve scrambled our finances, our marriage, or our relationships, He is in the business of transforming lives. He takes the garbage – our sin and our failures – and, through the power of Jesus, gives us a new life, new meaning and a fresh purpose. As unbelievable as this may seem, I see this truth at work everyday. I’m convinced <em>nothing</em> is impossible for God. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is there anything too hard for me?” (32:27).
Need more proof?
Buy some chickens.