When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Eagle and the Chicken

A fable is told about an eagle who thought he was a chicken. When the eagle was very small, he fell from the safety of his nest.  A chicken farmer found the eagle, brought him to the farm, and raised him in a chicken coop among his many chickens. The eagle grew up doing what chickens do, living like a chicken, and believing he was a chicken.  
A naturalist came to the chicken farm to see if what he had heard about an eagle acting like a chicken was really true.  He knew that an eagle is king of the sky.  He was surprised to see the eagle strutting around the chicken coop, pecking at the ground, and acting very much like a chicken.  The farmer explained to the naturalist that this bird was no longer an eagle.  He was now a chicken because he had been trained to be a chicken and he believed that he was a chicken.
The naturalist knew there was more to this great bird than his actions showed as he "pretended" to be a chicken.  He was born an eagle and had the heart of an eagle, and nothing could change that.  The man lifted the eagle onto the fence surrounding the chicken coop and said,  "Eagle, thou art an eagle.  Stretch forth thy wings and fly."  The eagle moved slightly, only to look at the man; then he glanced down at his home among the chickens in the chicken coop where he was comfortable.  He jumped off the fence and continued doing what chickens do.  The farmer was satisfied. "I told you it was a chicken," he said. 
The naturalist returned the next day and tried again to convince the farmer and the eagle that the eagle was born for something greater.  He took the eagle to the top of the farmhouse and spoke to him: "Eagle, thou art an eagle.  Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth.  Stretch forth thy wings and fly." The large bird looked at the man, then again down into the chicken coop.  He jumped from the man's arm onto the roof of the farmhouse. 
Knowing what eagles are really about, the naturalist asked the farmer to let him try one more time.  He would return the next day and prove that this bird was an eagle.  The farmer, convinced otherwise, said, "It is a chicken." 
The naturalist returned the next morning to the chicken farm and took the eagle and the farmer some distance away to the foot of a high mountain.  They could not see the farm nor the chicken coop from this new setting.  The man held the eagle on his arm and pointed high into the sky where the bright sun was beckoning above.  He spoke: "Eagle, thou art an eagle!  Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth.  Stretch forth thy wings and fly." This time the eagle stared skyward into the bright sun, straightened his large body, and stretched his massive wings.  His wings moved, slowly at first, then surely and powerfully.  With the mighty screech of an eagle, he flew. 
(In Walk Tall, You're A Daughter Of God, by Jamie Glenn, pp. 22-4.)

I love this story!  It has so many meanings to it.  But the one I want to focus on today is that our Heavenly Father is the naturalist.  He knows our potential and what we CAN become.  He knows that we are not and never have been, meant to be chickens.  If the opinion of others is the only one we listen to, than we will not ever reach our divine potential.  Have you ever noticed, that when you want to do something right, when you want to be your best, others seem to be right there to try and talk you out of it.  They would encourage you to stay right where you are.  To stay in the barnyard where it is safe.  To be just like everybody else. 

Long ago, the famous author Charles Dickens wrote of opportunities that wait. In his classic book entitled Great Expectations, Charles Dickens described a boy by the name of Philip Pirrip, (he was usually called, Pip). Pip was born in unusual and sad circumstances. He was an orphan.
He wanted so much more from his life.  He wished with all his heart that he were a scholar and a gentleman. Yet, no matter what he did, all of his ambitions and all of his hopes seemed doomed to failure.
Don't we each feel just a little like Pip some days?  Don't we each think about these things from time to time?  Don't we hope for something better as we go through our journey?

The story continues that one day a lawyer named Jaggers, from London,  approached Pip and told him that an someone unknown had left a fortune to him.  The lawyer put his arm around Pip's shoulder and said to him, “My boy, you have great expectations.”

We all have "great expectations"- not as a result of someone that we do not know, but rather, as a result of someone we know very well- our Heavenly Father.  Great things are expected of each one of us.
Life’s journey is not traveled on a pothole-free highway.  There are plenty of  obstacles and trials for each of us.  Our journey is instead, a pathway that is filled with changes and turnings.  We are forced to constantly make decisions.  To make them wisely, we must have to courage to become the eagles that the Lord  has ordained us to be.  We must have courage to climb, to fly, and to soar.  Sometimes, we need to have the courage to say, “No,” and sometimes we need the courage to say, “Yes.”
We choose whether we stay in the chicken coop, or whether we are willing to become all that the Lord would have us be.  It is our decisions that determine our destiny.


  1. I kind of needed this today Patty. Thanks, I truly loved this post.

  2. Thanks for this post! Just found your blog today and love it! We are your newest follower, follow us at:

  3. Great thoughts and a good reminder of our potential, even when we are in the coop. thx.

  4. I have never heard that fable before but I think it is now one of my favorites. I love your insight into it. You are such an inspiration.

  5. I love Great Expectations too! Great post filled with wonderful stuff.

  6. GREAT post. Thanks so much-- here from MMB:)

  7. Thanks so much to all of you! I had heard it before, but it has been awhile. When I found it again, I knew that I needed to include it. Sometimes, we learn best from stories and songs that bring the message home.

  8. Is a God sent story, thank I'll always fly with eagle