You might have heard about the city fellow who bought land in the country and decided to become a chicken farmer.
He picked up 1,000 chicks from the hatchery. A month later, he picked up 500 more. And a month later, he was back for 500 more.
“I take it your chicken farm is doing really well,” the hatchery worker said.
“No,” the city fellow said sadly. “I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. At first I thought I was planting them wrong side up or too close together, but now I suspect I’ve been putting them too deep.”
OK. I know. That’s a horrible joke. But it’s the best I could come up with to lead into a discussion about what the Bible has to say about chickens. Surprisingly, they’re talked about relatively little. Eagles, ravens, vultures, even sparrows get more ink than chickens.
Apparently they weren’t as popular in biblical times as they are now. Have you noticed how chicken restaurants keep popping up everywhere? Go into just about any city, and you’ll find that KFC is just one of the many restaurants that majors on chicken. Some companies have even made billions of dollars selling those little bony chicken wings, just by bathing them in hot sauce.
In America, chicken has been the favored Sunday dinner for generations. In fact, preachers have been fattened on fried chicken since the pioneer days.
But in biblical times, they got little notice. A rooster is mentioned in the Gospels. You remember, Peter had boldly declared that he’d stick with Jesus even to the end. But Jesus had told him that by the time the rooster crowed the next morning, Peter would deny he knows him three times.
The denials came – one, two, three. The rooster crowed and Peter burst into bitter tears, having been reminded of Jesus’ words.
But one of the most beautiful mentions of chickens came from Jesus’ own lips. As He drew near to Jerusalem one day, He looked upon the city with great sorrow and declared:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not” (Matthew 23:37).
Did you get that? Jesus described people of that day as chickens. Perhaps that remains a fitting description today, because some people seem to be so “chicken” when it comes to proclaiming the gospel.
Of course, we know Jesus was describing how hens care for their little ones, offering them shelter beneath their wings. As a kid, I had more than one run in with a mother hen that saw me as a threat to her brood. We knew which ones were “flogging hens” and we tried to stay clear of them. We knew better than to mess with such a hen’s little ones.
That kind of protection is what Jesus longed to provide to His people, but they resisted, choosing to go their own way.
I’m glad people in this part of the country embrace Jesus and serve Him with all their strength. That shows not only faith but also commonsense. Those who reject Him are like the city fellow who planted his chicks too deep. They just don’t seem to have good sense.