On the homestead, I have opportunity to observe behavior. All critters share in the fact that we are created by a holy and sovereign Lord. Also, all critters live in a fallen and broken world.
In managing my chicken enclosures, I often see behaviors that demand consideration. There are multiple breeds of chickens that should be noted. Araucanas and Ameraucanas, Barred Rocks and Buff Orpingtons, Leghorns and Brown Marans, Jersey Giants and Rhode Island Reds, Cornish Rocks and Freedom Rangers are but a few of the many breeds of domesticated chickens.
Each has a primary value, some known for their ability to produce many eggs, others known as fast-growing meat birds. To the homesteader, the chicken caretaker, they all are beautiful. They all deserve respect and care.
Here is an interesting observation. On occasion I have blended my breeds in the same enclosure for the sake of “mucking the stall” or repairing the coop. Immediately they separate from each other. It freaked me out the first time I watched this.
Each breed went to separate corners. There were troublemakers that would come out and fight each other. Now we don’t allow that kind of nonsense on our homestead. The Bible says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Being a peacemaker is a baseline character trait of a follower of Christ.
Given enough time, the birds desegregate. I can’t explain it, but at some point they no longer see themselves as distinct from each other in their physical differences. It would seem they just figure out, “Hey, we’re all chickens in here.”
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he was contending with the clear separation that was happening within the church among Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. Some were stepping out and picking fights with one another.
Paul reminds them of their common faith. He confronts the wickedness of separating, latching onto false Gospels. He makes their divisiveness a false Gospel, confronting this sin with these words:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:28-29 ESV).
Friends, I’m hearing a lot of squawking in the chicken pen of this world. Just stop. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul makes it clear: We who are followers of Christ are no longer separated. We all have the promise of salvation through Christ. We ought to act like it. If my chickens can figure it out, I’m sure we can too. I would encourage the words of Paul to the Ephesians:
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV).
To God be the glory!
Denny Dillman is benevolence pastor at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus.