Thursday, November 8, 2012

Strange Chickens




Scripture

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
(1 Corinthians 3:5 NASB)
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
(1 Corinthians 3:6 NASB)
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
(1 Corinthians 3:7 NASB)

 

Observation

People within the community at Corinth were arguing with one another about the state of their spiritual lives. Some were bragging about who it was that had brought them to Christ. They were proud of one preacher or another, but Paul tried to set things straight. It was God who had caused them to grow. Others might be a part of the process, but God was the one who was leading them to become the mature Christians that God had intended. Humans may be able to tweak things and add information here or there, but it is God who causes the growth.

 

Application


The other day I sat on the plane next to a man who works in the area of environmental clean-up. He was telling me a little about his business and how a lot of what he does is on farms and cleaning up the messes that may be found there. He's been working with a major pig farm for nearly three years, however, along the way he was called over to do some work at a chicken farm. He told me that after his experience there he can no longer eat chicken. I asked him why and he said that it was because the chickens no longer look like chickens. They are strange fat blobs that we raise as "chickens" but they truly aren't what we would think of as chickens. They are being raised purely for their meat and so there is no desire for them to produce anything else. We have genetically mutated the chickens to such an extent that they hardly resemble what we imagine running around the barn yard. They barely have any feathers anymore because that takes food and energy to grow feathers so we have mutated them to not grow feathers. They no longer have nails coming out of their chicken feet because that takes food and energy so they have been mutated to reduce their nail beds. They barely have beaks because those take calcium to grow and we don't want to waste calcium on a beak that isn't needed. Forget the identifying red floppy flesh on the top of their heads. Those are gone too. They can barely walk and are simply raised to become big fat blobs of meat for us to eat. They are very strange chickens, indeed. The question becomes whether they truly are chickens at all. They could no longer survive out in the real world as real chickens. They have become strange mutations at the hands of humans. They are no longer the chickens that God had originally grown and had intended for his people.

God has a plan for humanity and a blueprint for our growth which results in spiritually healthy individuals who can live and survive in this world. It is not a human plan but sometimes we allow the human plan to go to work on us. We allow the human plan to tweak things here and there and we claim that we are growing because of this human or that human but if we allow that to be the case, we will also become some very strange chickens. We may be good for consumption (or to be consumers), but we will never be able to leave the walls of the church. We will never survive the world.

Paul knew that healthy growth within the body of Christ could only come from God. There is a great temptation within the body of Christ to try to manipulate or mutate what God has already created. We have great leaders with charisma who come and tell us to go one way or the other. We are excited about them and we find ourselves becoming their disciples and then Paul reminds us -- it's not about the one who did the preaching or the baptizing -- it's all about God. I don't want to be mutated into some strange chicken. I want to be healthy and I want to be real and I want to be able to survive as a follower of Christ in this world. How about you?

 

Prayer


Lord, I pray that I would submit myself and my ministry completely and totally into your hands and may you bring the real growth, the healthy growth. Amen.

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