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A Back Yard Parable



In May of 2006, I was shown an unforgettable lesson in my own back yard. One that has led me to grasp the redeeming quality of God's hand of rescue and to shepherd grace at all costs; especially towards those that are unlovely and inconvenient. Let mercy reign!


Our Dear Daughter owns chickens as pets. DD has lovingly adored her feathered friends since the age of 3 years old, now owning the oldest hen in the county still going strong at the age of 13 & 1/2! This blue cochin banty hen will never be someones dinner, nor will the rest of the flock as long as they live with us. We have new neighbors directly behind our home and they have 2 big yellow labs. The last resident took pleasure in our chicken’s wanderings and warned the new owners about a conflict with the chickens and the big dogs. The new owners (whom we have yet to meet) were more than accommodating and placed page wire all on the back of our privacy fence to keep the chickens in our yard or so it should have been...


My friend's 4 year old child and I were playing outdoors before he was off to pre-school when we discovered that our 2 young roosters crowing from behind the fence. (I should note that Dear Husband and I dislike owning these young roosters very much and have attempted to give them away to just about everyone we know) Aggravated, I went and tried to coax them out from our side. The silly things took one look at me and veered the other way, wandering all over the neighbors yard without a care in the world. Not hearing or seeing any sign of dogs...I thought maybe they would find their own way home or DD could go over and fetch them later. Not my chickens, not my problem.


2 hours later, my young companion is off to school and I'm outdoors enjoying an inspirational book, eager to take in what my Lord would have for me on this day set apart for divine intervention. Instantly, I am greatly disturbed to the sounds of large dogs barking and the young roosters scrambling for their lives. I hear the roosters screeching in great distress and fear. I thought for a moment with these thoughts rolling through my mind and my conscience,


“Well, this is exactly what they deserve”….


“They wouldn’t listen to me and had it coming to them”…..


“We didn't want them anyways”…


“Why do I have to be home today of all days”? ..…


“I'll try not to listen to the sounds of their impending death”…


The moment passed and the mercy part of my heart took over my actions. Passing through our yard to get into the neighbors, I couldn’t help but notice in how our favored rooster Rodney surveyed the immediate dangerous situation, thinking first and foremost of his flock. Rodney Rooster instantly gathered up all of his gals and kept them in the coop for hours like a good shepherd. He knew his place was to shepherd and protect his own, not put the others in harm by going after the wayward deserters. Rodney Rooster made a prioritized decision to let go of the ones who were not of his yard and chose instead to shepherd those he was entrusted to. I was in my neighbor's yard in a flash, coaxing the young roosters out from a small corner of the fence, beaten and bruised as they were! All the while distracting the dogs that were bent on having fresh chicken dinner, I was able to get the 2 featherless and dog-slobbered roosters safely back to our yard.


I pray to have a heart that desires to choose mercy and grace at all costs, even towards those that are unlovely and inconvenient as are my 2 young unwanted ego-inflated roosters. And yet, there is a lesson also in how my elder rooster sheltered and protected his own from danger. I can fully relate to that protective shepherding nature that is imbedded deep within my heart in regards to my own 15-year-old daughter from the worldly dangers beyond my grasp. Knowing that I need to learn something from this experience, I wait upon the Lord to reveal His guidance in His written Word and in prayer.


Vindicate the weak and the fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3,4


He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth. Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. Daniel 6:27


Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 1Peter 5:2-5


In the days since my backyard adventure of rescuing the dog-slobbered, missing feathers and bruised up young roosters, both have been fine examples of humility and submission. This was not their prior behavior as before this day of beating; as they consistently warred to be top rooster. Both roosters now seem to know their place and have settled down a great deal. Our favored older rooster, Rodney, is much at peace knowing that he is the head and has their utmost respect as well as his flock intact.


Conclusion to my backyard parable: When some choose to leave the covering that God has placed over them, they are willingly entering a life of dangerous consequences as a result of their rebellion. Jesus our Redeemer always hears the repentant cries for help and is the great Rescuer for those who are in need of restoration! He delivers the afflicted from the snares of the evil one, and lovingly showers His mercy and grace as they find their place under the authority of whom God has placed over them.


I have learned that a healthy balance is what is expected of us as Christ followers. Both of being a good shepherd to those you are entrusted to and by having a heart of compassion to those that have made mistakes, restoring the found to wholeness. This is what makes up the beauty of community, a flowing river of unending grace and love towards all. Always thriving, and never stagnating.


I thank God for this backyard life lesson, so simple yet so profound. His calling on me is to shepherd those entrusted to me and that includes being available for the unlovely and the inconvenient ... to go where He sends me....but above all I need to be listening for His voice! :) And I thought the chickens were for DD's benefit....I am learning much in life by paying attention to my feathered friends who live in our backyard.


Recommended Comments

Ginger, this was a wonderful Backyard Parable! Thank you! As a Back Yard Chicken owner, I could so relate to what you experienced. There are wonderful lessons to be learned in the world around us if we will just stop and open our eyes and ears.

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Thank you so much for sharing your story....it really spoke to me and I know without a doubt it is one that I could read several times and I would learn more with each read.

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