We don’t technically live on a farm, but we do have chickens. 11 beautiful white, green and brown egg laying chickens!
My oldest daughter loves to spend time with them. When it’s her month to feed, make sure the chickens have clean water and collect their eggs…she spends LOTS of time with them. I mean, she goes down to the coop before school [and before breakfast!] in her chicken boots, hat, gloves and heavy coat. She does her chore [for the most part]… but I’m not surprised anymore when she doesn’t quite finish because she is petting and holding those chickens. She sits there in the straw and talks with them…shows them love that no-one else in the house does. I’ve been known to open the window in the dead of winter and yell over the hillside “Sweet girl, your breakfast is cold!! Get your tukus up here before you are late to school!”
That 7 year old little girl has taught me so much over the years. Most recently with these chickens, she has shown me how to love “the least of these”. When I think of her sitting in the straw, in an unheated chicken coop, making sure the chickens feel loved and not lonely…it reminds me so much of the verse from Matthew 25:4 “”The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” If you’ve never held a chicken before, [they are pretty and really cool to watch]… they aren’t really the type of pet you would hug and kiss and tuck into bed with you. They can get dirty and pretty stinky sometimes…especially in the heat of summer.
Thinking back to the verse in Matthew, those were red letter words, meaning, they were words spoken by Jesus. He was talking with his closest friends and telling them how the King will recognize His followers someday:
- I was hungry and you gave me something to eat [25:35a]
- I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink [25:35b]
- I needed clothes and you clothed me [25:36a]
- I was sick and you looked after me [25:36b]
- I was in prison and you came to visit me [25:36b]
And then Jesus said: Whatever you did for “the least of these”…you did for me. He’s calling us to care for people who are hurting, people who are in need…just like my daughter cares for her chickens. She doesn’t care that they are dirty birds, she loves them anyways… And she shows them by not only giving them what they need physically, but by taking care of them, spending time with them, and letting them know they are loved.
What if we took that very same approach with people in our lives? If we spent time with them, letting them know how valuable they are, if we helped people right where they are…people we know…who are hungry and thirsty, they’re struggling to keep food in their kitchens? What if we really cared for people who are sick and we even helped their families? What if…we gave clothes to those who have nothing? Or <gasp> we went into the prisons and shared Jesus with people who need to know real unconditional love? What if we cared for people who need physical things and in turn we get to share spiritual things…eternal things…life changing truths. What if?
I hope you let the heart of a 7 year old little girl and her chickens inspire you the way she has me. We’ve changed the way we do things around here, for the better. Doing things for others, on purpose…scheduling it on the calendar. Because honestly, if we don’t…years will go by and that 7 year old little girl will be 17, getting ready to graduate high school…and there won’t be much time left under your roof.
Let’s make a plan…a purpose filled plan to care for “the least of these” so they can see Jesus. To love them in whatever season life finds them in, care for them physically and in turn show them true LOVE & real LIFE.