Weekly Sabbath Survey
Parable of the Hen’s Egg — 1-28-2017
Hens Acre Farm has around 30 laying hens and 2 roosters. They’re a blessing. Not just for the eggs but because the Lord teaches me things through them. They have a little society operating in the flock, like a village. The white rooster is the mayor, and the ol’ red roo is mayor emeritus. A dear friend encouraged me to write about the comparison of God’s ministry and the work of the laying hen. While these ladies may ‘go broody’ and want to hatch babies, this is not their primary function. They are here to produce eggs. As Christians, some of us are just automatically drawn to Baby Christians. They may actually be children or they can be newly Born Again adults. Either way, the work is intense and many times, the hours are long. If we had to name this type of chicken, they would be the shepherds, caretakers, Sunday School teachers. They are continually taking care of people.
A minister/preacher with the call to produce fruit, would be like a laying hen. Not the motherly type so much, but a producer of food. They preach the sermons, write the books, do the Bible studies. They are more about God and His Word than dealing with people and their problems (although they do some of that, too.) The problem with the ‘laying hen’ ministry is our society is very results oriented. We put in our dollar, push the right button, and expect a Coke to drop out. When I was preaching I could see who was paying attention and who was snoozing or zoning out. I would find the ones who were making eye contact and look from one to the other. I wanted results and those people with open eyes were it. Now that I’m writing most of what God gives me to say, there isn’t always apparent results. (I counsel and mentor by telephone, e-mail and in person, so get results those ways.) But this writing thing is kind of a shot in the dark. Many times, I don’t know if I have hit anything! Thinking too much about results can lead to discouragement, even depression. You get the blues. Start thinking, what’s the use?? Is there even anybody out there?
The laying hen begins her day with search for food. The Believer Hen (you guys pretend here) must be well nourished (in God’s Word) to produce the most “eggs” and most nutritious. If I write something that isn’t God-breathed, it will not help anybody. Once the hen has the inspiration for laying her egg, she finds a quiet place (usually a nest box provided by the farmer) and sits for a spell. Once she lays her egg, she soon jumps out of the nest and begins to cackle. This is her happy dance, the moment of joy at producing her egg. Bock, bock, bock, pea-gock! She wanders into the yard does a couple more bock, bocks, and then starts foraging for food again. The other chickens pay no attention to her, she’s celebrating on her own.
In the ministry, we do the same thing. We hear from God, get in quiet place to pray about what we will say or write. When we ‘deliver’ our message, we have a moment of euphoria, a joy at having produced something for the Lord. The hen has no idea what happens to her egg. In fact she has already forgotten about it before it has cooled off. She did her thing and moved on. The next day she does it all again. This is where we mess up. Getting too mentally involved with what good we did or didn’t do. What has happened to that person in a cafe we prayed with for salvation? Did anybody read what we wrote? Did somebody that really needed it actually “get it” for the first time? Did 50% of the congregation sleep through my sermon? And there we are, depressed and feeling useless because we don’t know what the Divine Farmer did with our egg.
The cure is to get back in there and write another egg!! Or, prepare for the next speaking engagement. Get with the Lord for inspiration on what comes next for you. Press quickly on to the next thing God tells you to do. Don’t just sit there and worry yourself sick over whether your ministry is of any value. If God called you, your ministry is valuable.
One more thing: when the hen has laid her clutch, which is all the eggs her body had ready to produce in a cycle, she takes a REST. Setting hens want to hatch the babies at this time. They rest sitting on their eggs. The laying hen (not setter) stops laying, and she will lose feathers (called molting). She makes new feathers while resting from making eggs. If God made even chickens to rest from their ministry, why do we think we can go on and on forever without rest? We get ministry burnout. People in ordained-by-man ministry do this all the time. The amateurs have a better track record, I think. Maybe because we go on without man’s approval and maybe even his disapproval, we have a lesser need for the applause as time goes on. Even Jesus rested from constant ministry, drawing Himself away from the crowds.
Take my yoke [of ministry] upon you, and let me teach you: for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for the yoke I give fits comfortably and the burden I give is light. Matthew 11:29-30
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Copyright August 2016