JUNE 2010 – Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the eagle and chicken were very good friends. Everywhere they went, these friends went together. It was not uncommon for people to look up and see the eagle and chicken flying side by side through the air.
One day, while flying, the chicken said to the eagle: “Let’s drop down and get a bite to eat. My stomach is growling.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me,” replied the eagle.
So the two birds glided down to earth, saw several animals eating, and decided to join them. They landed next to the cow. The cow was busy eating corn but noticed that the eagle and the chicken were soon sitting on the ground next to her.
“Welcome,” said the cow. “Help yourself to the corn.”
This took the two birds by surprise. They were not accustomed to having other animals share their food quite so readily.
“Why are you willing to share your corn with us?” asked the eagle.
“Oh, we have plenty to eat here. Mr. Farmer gives us all we want,” replied the cow.
So the eagle and the chicken jumped in and ate their fill. When they finished, the chicken asked more about Mr. Farmer.
“Well,” said the cow, “he grows all our food. We don’t have to work at all.”
“You mean,” said the chicken, “that Mr. Farmer simply gives you all you want to eat?”
“That’s right,” said the cow. “Not only that, but he gives us shelter over our heads.”
The chicken and the eagle were shocked! They had never heard of such a thing.
They had always had to search for their food and work for shelter.
When it came time to leave, the chicken and the eagle began to discuss the situation: “Maybe we should just stay here,” said the chicken. “We can have all the food we want without working. And that barn over there sure beats those nests we have been building. Besides, I’m getting tired of always having to work for a living.”
“I don’t know about all this,” said the eagle. “It sounds too good to be true. I find it hard to believe that one can get something for nothing. Besides, I kinda like flying high and free through the air. And providing food and shelter isn’t so bad. In fact, I find it quite challenging.”
Well, the chicken thought it over and decided to stay where there was free food and shelter. But the eagle decided that he loved his freedom too much to give it up, and he enjoyed the consistent challenge of making his own living. So, after saying goodbye to his old friend the chicken, the eagle set sail for the wild blue yonder.
Everything went fine for the chicken. He ate all he wanted. He never worked. He grew fat and lazy.
But then one day he heard the farmer say to his wife that he was yearning for fried chicken. Hearing that, the chicken decided it was time to check out and rejoin his good friend the eagle. But when he attempted to fly, he found that he had grown too fat and lazy. Instead of being able to fly, he could only flutter. So, the next day, the farmer’s family sat down to chicken dinner.
When you give up the challenges of life in your pursuit of ease and security, your ability to fly turns into a flutter.
And that’s the reason eagles fly and chickens flutter.
Editor’s Note: From the late 1970s through 2010, Don Wildmon, founder and president emeritus of American Family Association, wrote hundreds of monthly columns for AFA Journal. Thirty-one of his best columns are now available in a recently published collection titled Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon. These columns represent his timeless wisdom and insight and are now being published weekly on The Stand in celebration of AFA’s 40 years of ministry.
Click here or call 877-927-4917 to order your own copy of Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon.