Far from being an expert on chickens, I’ve learned a lot in the process of starting a flock here at our Cross-Dubya ranch this year. When eggs reached four dollars a dozen, adding chickens became an easy decision. I learned the importance between pullet and “straight run” chicks. It’s also most difficult to sex (determine the gender) of a chick before it feathers. The most important lesson was, you can never be sure of what you’re getting.
Focused primarily on egg production, another factor I considered was security. Since (yes, this is sexist but it’s because I’m an old guy) ladies feel safer with a man around the house, I decided we needed roosters to watch over the flock. Roosters keep the hens calmer and make great alarms. So do the two Guinea fowl we added by the way. Knowing that picking a rooster isn’t easy as those fuzzy little chicks all look the same, I enlisted help from a student at Texas A&M-Commerce. This young man worked at Tractor Supply and helped me pick out what we thought would be roosters. Of the four Black Copper Marans we attempted to sex and purchased, three turned out to be roosters. However, not all of them turned out to be Black Copper Marans.
As Mr. John and I raised the chicks in the kiddie pool inside the workshop, we noticed each chick’s unique personality. The Buff Orpington pullets (girl chicks) loved to be held and spoken to. “The boys” (roosters) were always stirring things up. We noticed one was smaller than the others, so we decided he was a runt and would catch up. Then, when they feathered, we made a startling discovery. Our thought Black Copper Maran rooster was instead a bantam (small) Astralorp rooster, with feathered legs that made him stand out even more. A third of the size of the others, this little fella has an attitude that is much larger than his stature.
Giving him the honors, as we moved them into the custom-built coop, Mr. John began naming a few. His best girl is “Goldie”, the giant Buff Orpington hen. She comes to him several times a day and pecks at his pants leg until he stops, picks her up, and holds her for a few minutes. Then there’s “Gertrude (aka Gertie) who was the first to lay and “Foghorn” the white American Leghorn hen. Last, we have “the boys”, known as “Rocky”, “Rupert”, and “Boots.” Bet you can’t guess which one is pictured above.
As free-range chickens, we enjoy them wandering around the ranch but do wish they’d learn to stop doing their business on the front and rear stoops. Yes, we’ve learned to watch where we walk more closely these days. I think my favorite part of having chickens, beyond the obvious eggs, is the sounds they make. Most often, they forage, making content, joyful sounds. They have an affinity for grasshoppers, and we have an overabundance of them this year. When they’re in the nesting boxes, I love to listen to their egg song. The roosters, however, can be quite noisy as they’re convinced their job is to sound the alarm and keep their flock under control. I’ve learned to tell each rooster by their crowing, which they can do a lot of.
“Rocky”, who is the alpha rooster (if there is such a thing) is the loudest. He’s also the most protective of everyone else. “Rupert” is the most beautiful of the boys, but his wheezing at the end of each crow makes him different. Last, there’s “Boots”. And while his crow is unique, I don’t think it has fully developed. At least I hope not. “Boots” has a terminal case of strep throat and his staccato crowing certainly stands out from the crowd.
With his small size and funky-feathered legs, “Boots” is always the last to get anywhere. As the others leisurely walk to the hay barn, out in the pasture, or behind the front hedge, he runs. His little feathered legs go ninety miles an hour as he tries to catch up. It’s funny to watch him spend his day rushing to keep up to the others, but the laughter comes when his bossy little attitude kicks in and he crows.Each Christian has a unique role to play within the body of Christ. #FindingYourVoice #ServingGod #ServingOthers Click To Tweet
Mimicking him the other day, I began thinking how God created each of His children to have a unique voice, to serve a special role within the body of Christ. As gratefully happens often, Scripture verses came to mind. The first of these is one I pray for each morning.
Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth,
and the Lord said to me:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”
(Jeremiah 1:9-10 NKJV)
Just as God did with Moses, the prophets, and others throughout the Bible, He gives us the right words to say when we submit to Him and ask His help. Part of my learning with the gift of self-control is to take every thought captive. In doing this, I ask God to change my words into His so that what comes out of my mouth is pleasing to Him and brings Him glory. This is ALWAYS much better than what I may be thinking. I can’t tell you I always do this but continue trying to practice it more with each passing year.
The other Scripture verses that sprang forth from my heart came from Romans 12 (verses 4-8) and 1 Corinthians 12 (verse 27). They direct us to serve God and serve others through the spiritual gifts and talents He gives. Each of us within the body of Christ, Jesus’ true church, has a responsibility to use whatever gifts we have to accomplish two things. Share the gospel message of salvation through Christ and serve others within the body using our gifts. How we can accomplish these things is endless, but the best ways are those that align with the gifts we’ve been given. Ever notice how doing what we enjoy doing most never seems like work? There’s a difference between working and laboring.
As a Christian writer, I pray He helps me find the right words to point others to Him. The words I write are offerings meant to bring Him glory. My prayer is that “I” and “me” are never seen by readers, but that the words on the page focus the reader’s attention upon Him. I’ve heard many times at writer’s conferences, etc. that each writer must “find their voice.” My question has always been, “But what if my voice sounds like Elmer Fudd on acid?”
Both as a Christian and Christian writer, I’ve learned that no matter what our unique voice is, we find it when what we say and do is pleasing to God. When we offer Him whatever He has given us in humble service and a heart of gratitude, He will use it all for His purpose. Don’t you find great peace in knowing that in Christ, whatever we are, we’re good enough for God?
My prayer for you this week is that you ask God to show you your unique voice and how you can serve His kingdom in your special way.
Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:00 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.