“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.” ~Annie Dillard
I used to read The Little Red Hen to my Kindergarten students.
You probably know the story. The hen wants to make bread, but first she has to put the work into it. She asks for help, but everyone has other things, better things, to do.
It didn’t take long for my students to catch on to the repetition: “Not I,” said the dog. “Not I,” said the cat. “Not I,” said the duck. “Then I will,” said the Little Red Hen, and she did.
And then the bread is ready to eat.
“And who will eat the bread?” asks the Little Red Hen.
You know the answer; don’t you?
How many of us are the dog, cat, or duck? The bread smells wonderful, but the sweat that it takes stinks.
You know what it is going to take to help that single mother- your free nights turned into babysitting, your extra cash spent buying kids’ underwear and socks, your family Thanksgiving expanded to “outsiders”.
Or what about that college kid that seems so lost? You just got your own kids out of the house, but here is this one needing laundry, meals, rides to the pharmacy.
Maybe your story is an older neighbor who needs their lawn mowed, leaves raked, a hot meal, a sidewalk shoveled. He sits in the dark, a glowing television his only companion.
Genesis 11 and Joshua 24 gives us just a hint about what might have been.
Abram’s father, Terah, gathers together his family and sets off for Canaan, but they stop in Harran. Abram is with his father for 135 years before Terah dies. Joshua 24 tells us that Terah worshiped other gods.
Somewhere along the way, Terah didn’t do the work. Was he the intended one for the Promised Land? Was God asking him to begin a new nation? Did God instruct Terah, only to lose him to other gods?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that Terah never saw Canaan- the land of future promise. He never got to eat the bread.
It was given to someone who was willing to put in the work.
Has God called you to work?
What is your answer?
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered. Matthew 21:28-31 NIV