When someone calls us a chicken, most of us don’t take it as a compliment.
But when God describes Himself as a chicken, as He does in Luke 14:34-35, it’s worth pausing over the passage and meditating:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you were not willing!”
If you are fortunate enough to have free-ranging chickens in your life, and you let the roosters do their job, you’ll at some point wind up with broody hens, and several weeks after that, a bunch of fluff balls.
And the one thing you will immediately notice is that the mother hen, which you’ve generally associated to be a, well, dumb chicken, is all of a sudden changed:
She stands up straighter. She is alert for danger. And when she makes a specific clucking noise, all of her chicks come running and she enfolds them under her wings. They are safe there.
In the same way, when Jesus called the children of Jerusalem to His side, He was offering them His grace, His mercy, His protection, and His love — in exchange for their leaving behind what they were doing and running to His arms.
And they didn’t want to do this.
Today, we who call ourselves Christians and say how much we love Jesus and how we follow Him and do everything He tells us to do — have the opportunity to run to Him for His protection and grace, in the shelter of His wings finding the rest and solace that we need.
Do we run there? Or do we stay out in the field — where the cat is stalking — intent upon our structured Bible studies and small groups and ministry opportunities and all the things that we are determined are valuable and needed, and ignore God’s voice when we hear it?
Because, while all the “stuff” we do isn’t necessarily without value, it is worthless when we do it outside of God’s direction and voice:
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:22-23)
The children of Jerusalem over whom Jesus lamented had no dearth of religious projects in which to be involved: there were priests and leaders, Pharisees and Sadducees, there were laws to follow and oaths to fulfill and tithes to give and public prayers to say. But Jesus wanted them to drop all that and run to Him.
And they wouldn’t.
I promise you that, if you listen for God’s voice and run toward it, you will run away from convention and acceptability, social approval and man’s praise, but in exchange, you will run straight into the arms — and wings — of God.