If the story of a poor little chicken meeting a sad and sorry fate is too much for you today, come back and read tomorrow. =)
There are three things you need to know for this story.
1. We have chickens.
2. We live on edge of the wilderness. (Think moose, wild turkeys and mountain lions)
3. Everyone’s (every animal’s, that is) favorite food is chicken.
The first time one was eaten, I cried. Since then I’ve tried not to look our chickens in the eye, because certain death is on the other side of their enclosure fence and crying gives me a headache. Every day at sundown, the hens walk themselves back into their coop. Then one of us goes outside and locks the coop door. Pretty simple.
Unless we have a chicken who thinks she is too good for the coop.
Perhaps the chicken thought it smelled. Maybe the other chickens were mean to her. Maybe she thought sleeping outside was what cool chickens do.
Whatever the reason, one night when I went to go close the coop, I only counted 6 chickens. Hmm. That’s strange, I thought. However, I left the 6 chickens to go after the one.(see previous post!) I looked in all their favorite places. I walked up the hill behind their coop. I called her name, “chicken! Here chicken!”
Finally I found her under the coop. I used a little stick to try and poke her out so I could put her safe inside- but she backed up and stayed put. Well, dinner was cooking inside and the children think of their worst ideas when I’m gone for more than 5 minutes, so I locked the coop and went inside.
At dinner, I mentioned the renegade chicken to Joseph. The evening passed too quickly with family home evening, bedtime, and cleaning up the kitchen. Next moment, I’m laying in my bed, Joseph has already fallen asleep, and I remember. “Chicken! The chicken is under the coop!”
truth: I am scared of the dark. No way I’m going out to the wilderness now…
The next morning when I went to open the coop, I saw feathers everywhere. I blinked back tears (ok, fine, I admit I still care about them!), But I was also really mad! If only that chicken would have gone in the coop like she is supposed to! If only she would have come when I called! If only she would have come out when I tried to poke her out!…. but now, it was too late for my little renegade chicken.
What more could I have done! (Jacob 5:41)
As a dear friend commented on an earlier post, ultimately we can’t ‘save’ another person. We can reason truth with them, help them feel heaven’s light, share Christ’s love with them– but each individual must exercise their own agency and choose Jesus.
This power of agency, given to us by an all-wise Father, will not be hijacked –even by that very being, the Eternal God.
Knowing this puts the responsibility on our shoulders to find and enter the pavilion of the Lord. Do we have the faith to follow the Good Shepard to a place of safety? Is it sometimes hard to be inside the coop when the wild world is so inviting? Jesus taught,
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The 6 remaining chickens have remained skitish since their friend was eaten by who-knows-what. They are always on their perches by sundown, for the truth is I will “hide them” from “times of trouble.” (Psalms 27:5) Because these chickens put their little chicken trust in this truth, it makes them free the next day to go about their chicken lives.
The Good Shepard calls us to places of safety. To heed the call is an act of faith– but if she could, wouldn’t my poor little chicken tell you it is worth it?
The sun is setting here, so I’m going to go close the coop. =)
S: (Prayer/Ask) To what places of safety is God calling me?
- Read these excerpts from Elder Quentin L. Cook’s talk in Priesthood Sesion. Look for his multiple calls to leave behind danger and find his suggestions for how to come to safety.
A wonderful example of the need for moderation, balance, and wisdom is the use of the Internet. It can be used to do missionary outreach, to assist with priesthood responsibilities, to find precious ancestors for sacred temple ordinances, and much more. The potential for good is enormous. We also know that it can transmit much that is evil, including pornography, digital cruelty, and anonymous yakking. It can also perpetuate foolishness. As Brother Randall L. Ridd poignantly taught at the last general conference, speaking of the Internet, “You can get caught up in endless loops of triviality that waste your time and degrade your potential.
We live in a world that is literally in commotion. We are surrounded by obsessive portrayals of “fun and games” and immoral and dysfunctional lives. These are presented as normal conduct in much of the media…..
I am particularly concerned with foolishness and being obsessed with “every new thing.” In the Church we encourage and celebrate truth and knowledge of every kind. But when culture, knowledge, and social mores are separated from God’s plan of happiness and the essential role of Jesus Christ, there is an inevitable disintegration of society. In our day, despite unprecedented gains in many areas, especially science and communication, essential basic values have eroded and overall happiness and well-being have diminished.
When the Apostle Paul was invited to speak on Mars Hill in Athens, he found some of the same intellectual pretension and absence of true wisdom that exist today. In Acts we read this account: “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” Paul’s emphasis was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the crowd realized the religious nature of his message, some mocked him; others essentially dismissed him, saying, “We will hear thee again of this matter.” Paul left Athens without any success. Dean Frederic Farrar wrote of this visit: “At Athens he founded no church, to Athens he wrote no epistle, and in Athens, often as he passed its neighbourhood, he never set foot again.”…
Many choices are not inherently evil, but if they absorb all of our time and keep us from the best choices, then they become insidious…
I encourage everyone, young and old, to review goals and objectives and strive to exercise greater discipline. Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals. We need to rise above rationalizations and distractions. It is especially important to make choices consistent with our covenants to serve Jesus Christ in righteousness.
- Read John 8. Look for how Jesus is trying to call Pharisees to a place of safety. Look also for how often they refuse to be called in.
- Choosing to be led by a blind guide isn’t very wise. How can we have assurance that who/what we are following will indeed lead us to safety?
- Can you think of a time that you were beckoned to safety but for whatever reason did not respond right away? Think about the reasons staying out overrode the call to safety.
- Is it possible to reach a place of perfect safety? Why or why not?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: To what places of safety is God calling me?) Also consider writing down the following:
- Read Psalms 27:5. Write a list of “times of trouble” from which God can “hide” you. How does He ‘hide’ His people?
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
- Write down a few things that you think God might be calling you from. Think through what Jesus asks of His followers if you need some ideas. Maybe you felt a tug to move away those things while at church, as you were studying the scriptures, or listening to a Conference talk.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: Looking back at your notes, find one thing that you’d like to leave behind in order to move to a safer place with the Lord. Pray for help to accomplish this.
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