Spring came and the chicken coop finally defrosted enough to be able to clean it out. Thinking I was clever, I let the chickens out to eat up all the weed seeds in my yard as a fair trade for the hard work I was about to do for them.
After much labor and time the coop was finally cleaned with fresh straw ready for the chickens to be put back inside. I wanted to rush the process because I was stinky and dirty. That shower was calling my name. Well these chickens had another plan. They decided to make the process extremely difficult with no sign they would freely choose to go back in their assigned residence.
As I approached them to put them away, they would run, a lot faster than me, in the opposite direction. I thought that I would be able to outsmart the chickens by getting a large stick and hold it out so I could corner the disobedient chickens and cover more space to lure them into the coop. Well this just made the chickens feel threatened and they discovered magical maneuvers that got them out of captivity once again. By now, I was really tired and all I wanted was a hot shower and clean clothes. I thought about my strategy a little harder and in my infinite wisdom I decided to use two large sticks, one in each hand. This will surely scare the chickens into obeying my every command. Bwwaahh!
Once again I was extremely disappointed with the lack of results two sticks had in convincing the chickens of what they should be doing. It seemed to only increase the running speed.
I sat down and pondered about how to get these chickens to obey my will. If I do not get them back in their coop before dark the cats would surely have a delicious midnight snack. I started thinking about my Heavenly Father and how he teaches me. He has never chased me around this Earth with a giant stick attempting to scare me in to the correct path I should be following. I know he really wouldn’t decide to use two sticks if he doesn’t even use one. He sits quietly, he even whispers to keep me calm. He guides me by walking beside me so I do not get lost.
He has never used force on me. He has always made it clear that I can choose my path and has allowed me to make mistakes. I decided I should give faith in my Heavenly Fathers example. I respected my chickens free agency and as silly as it sounds, I allowed them to choose the right decision for themselves. I walked up to them slowly, whispered to them softly and walked beside them with no stick, no scary noises and no sudden moves. I attempted nothing more than a peaceful and steady pace. The chickens, to my surprise, walked slowly along side of me and went straight into their coop. I was truly humbled by the results. Why did I not do this in the first place? I have wasted so much time and energy trying to control my chickens when all they really wanted was the ability to choose. I have applied this little life lesson to all of life’s issues. You should not force anyone to do your will for that is not the plan of the Savior, but is just the opposite.
If you can obey Heavenly Father and follow the example of Christ, people, and even chickens, will gladly walk beside you in the path of righteousness. Everyone deserves their liberty and we should never encourage or work toward the ability to have it taken away, even when a few people decide to take the wrong path. Heavenly Father lives this way! Shouldn’t we?