Chicken Eggs: A Metaphor
Photo Credit: Brooke Slezak
I went to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning last week. It was January, and since nothing really grows here in January except animals, that’s all there was to purchase. Eggs, milk, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, salmon… and so forth.
I stopped at my favorite grower’s booth to pick up eggs and meat, hoping for a supply to last at least a month.
“Do you have any eggs?”
“Well, these two cartons are all I have. The eggs are pretty small.”
“That’s okay. I’ll take both cartons.”
I opened up the cartons. “Pretty small” is right. We had been eating XL eggs I bought in bulk at the store. I wasn’t even able to close the lid on those jumbo-tron eggs. In contrast, these puny little brown ping pong balls looked like kids playing dress up in their parents’ clothes — they were swimming in the carton.
The farmer explained, “It’s cold. We don’t keep our chickens in a hen house; the live outside all year. When it’s this cold, they have to put all their energy toward staying warm, so their egg-laying really slows down. They are much less productive, and the eggs are smaller. We hope for warmer weather. And in the summer, there will be a lot more eggs.”
As I cracked open three little eggs this morning to make our breakfast, I realized something.
We’re just like the chickens.
Maybe our version of “staying warm” is time online. Maybe it’s TV or keeping a clean house. Maybe it’s something more internal — our minds getting caught up in worry, anger, or conflict. We put all our energy toward these things, and suddenly, our eggs are smaller and smaller. And maybe one day, we stop producing them altogether.
We didn’t give our best energy to our children. We didn’t devote ourselves to our marriages. We didn’t love our neighbors. We didn’t follow Jesus and His quiet voice in our hearts. We’re spent. We’ve used up all our energy to produce puny eggs.
Unlike the chickens, we don’t have to wait for warmer weather. We can start changing our lives right now. We can stop using our energy to stay warm, and start using it to produce better eggs. Better hearts. Stronger marriages. More creative, joyful, and well-loved kids. Healthier bodies and smarter minds. More fruitful friendships, churches, and communities.
Thank you, Jesus, for the farmers and the chickens who give us our eggs.
Help me to use all my energy for good eggs.