PROVERBS 29 vs 18, “Where there is no vision (no redemption revelation of God) the people perish.”
I hope you know a bit about chickens because this sermon is about chickens (the hen in particular). If the only chicken you know is the featherless, golden one that you have in your freezer or the one you see going round and round in a grill, then this sermon may not come across well.
I have found visions to be quite like the life of a chicken, or to be exact, the life of a hen. Once mature, hens lay eggs, they do not drop them all at once like turtles.
They lay them one at a time, a day at a time.
l Some hens lay first thing in the morning
l While others, I believe the most, lay mid-morning.
l There is, however, a group that lays early afternoon.
When hens are about to start laying eggs, they begin to make a certain noise (hen language — song). The song is peculiar only to laying hens (kekedza).
Occasionally, some confused young cockerel does make the same sound, but this sound belongs to laying hens. This sound by hens continues throughout the laying season.
I hear the human version of this song quite often among the believers. With great zeal they talk about:-
l Serving God.
l Preaching the gospel.
l Visiting the sick and praying for them.
l Being used in ministry.
l Being doctors, lawyers, accountants.
l Pastoring a church.
l Starting a business.
Many eventually lay this egg of intention. Some lay once, some lay 10 times.
Yet, with all this laying and incubation, years down the line we end up with only a few more chickens than we had before.
That is the worrying part. If hens are laying eggs and hatching them (eggs), multiplication should be taking place. What we are getting instead, is either negligible addition or maintaining what we had (something is wrong).
Let’s go down the list and diagnose the problem.
Hens and their laying of eggs
1. Though hens will lay eggs each season, only fertilised eggs will eventually produce chicks.
It is not enough to own an egg laying chicken if you are expecting multiplication. You must own a cock as well. Without a cock, chicken eggs are only good for eating. If the hen insists on sitting on them anyway, not only will it waste a good three weeks, but all it will produce will be rotten, foul — smelling eggs. Many times our visions are like that.
They have not been fertilised by the Word and Spirit of God or even prayer. Unfertilised visions are only good for eating. And you know it’s not the hen that eats the eggs.
(Someone will put to use those visions and enjoy the fruit). Good things may come out of unfertilised visions, but for the layer, the hen (you), it is frustration and a wasted season. Don’t just lay eggs. Hang out with God. Let him hover over your vision. Let His purpose and call for your life fertilise your vision before you can lay it.
2. Laying the eggs is just one step, we must incubate those eggs.
Just as the hen patiently sits on its eggs, so must we sit on our visions. This is perhaps, the most challenging part of the Christian vision. We want to go and preach the same day we get the Word.
We want to start the church the day God calls.
l We want to be lawyers, accountants and doctors today.
l We want to go and gather all the destitute children and help them the day we receive the burden. Just remember this, if you crack that vision of yours, you will find it is all egg white and yolk. Incubation has not taken place. Laying produces an egg. Incubation produces chicks and chicks know their time. When that time comes, they are equipped to crack open the shell and come out on their own. Learn to incubate your eggs under the warmth of the word, of prayer, of patience, of Godly counsel.
Or simply waiting . . .
When God calls you, He prepares you before commissioning you.
3. We have to lay all the season’s eggs before we can sit on them.
As important as sitting on our eggs is, we cannot just lay one egg and proceed to sit on it. No hen does that, indeed it cannot. When God gives us a vision, we must remain before Him to receive the other related visions.
Remember what happened to Moses when he attempted to sit on one egg?
Although legally he belonged to the house of Pharaoh, in his heart he bore the burdens of his people, the Jews.
Exodus 2 vs 11-15. “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren.” And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.” And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrew strove together and he said to him that did the wrong,Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?” And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared and said, Surely this thing is known.” Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian and he sat down by a well.”
Moses had to go to the wilderness, where he spent the next 40 years, laying the rest of his eggs (preparation). In whatever calling God puts in our hearts, there are many issues that may be involved. The time may not be right.
We may not be adequately prepared in terms of understanding and wisdom and character. Incubation is important.
4. Do well what you can do and let God do the rest.
A hen cannot form the embryo in the egg. A hen cannot regulate the temperature around the eggs.It just gathers eggs together, ensures that each egg is well covered and having done everything, it just sits. At no time during this process does it worry and wonder whether the eggs will actually hatch.
It does its best and simply waits. It does not get a thermometer and keep checking the temperature.
Isaiah 40 vs 31, “They that wait upon the Lord… shall renew their strength.”
5. Incubation calls for sacrifice and discipline.
During the first week of incubation, the hen may leave the eggs to feed and drink. As the days draw on, the hen shuts out the other needs and concentrates on just sitting on the eggs. The hen does not stop being hungry it just concentrates on that one goal.Why? Critical times require critical responses. The early days of our vision may offer much flexibility.
However, as our vision flows towards reality, greater sacrifices and attention to detail may be required. There comes a time to shut out other good things. And give priority to the vision.
6. A realised vision brings new responsibilities.
A few days before the eggs hatch, the hen begins to do more than just sit, it begins to be aggressive towards anyone or anything that approaches its nest. This is because the realisation of one dream (vision) marks the beginning of another dream (vision). The hen is about to hatch, that will be a dream (vision) realised. But straight after that comes the dream (vision) or raising up all the chicks protective mood).
The wedding day may be the happiest day in a couple’s life, but challenges may have just begun.We must expect a vision beyond that vision.
7. A vision lasts one season, the next season will require another vision.
After laying for two weeks, sitting on the eggs for three weeks, and watching over its chicks for two or three months (total four months), the mother hen pecks away it’s grown brood and its time to start all over again. Hens do not have dead end visions, there is always a new vision for the new season.
And we have a lot to learn from the hen.
Some people’s greatest dream (vision) is to get married and have a family. They achieve that and then begin to wonder why they are no longer excited about their wife and children. The same with those who wanted full time ministry, a business, a big church, money. They allowed their vision to be dead end dreams (visions).
True visions are self-renewing and tend to lead to the next step.
Once a visionary, always a visionary.
When a hen stops laying eggs, somebody sharpens a knife. You know what next, it’s in the pot for a very good roast. Not so with God, when you stop being a visionary he sharpens an axe. (God does his things big).
Matthew 3 vs 10 (Living Bible), “And even now that axe of God’s judgement is poised to chop down every unproductive tree. They will be chopped and burned.”
Be a visionary and you will certainly avoid the chop.
l Colin Nyathi is a senior pastor and founder of Harvest House International Churches. email firstname.lastname@example.org