There once was a story about Turkeys and Eagles.
The story’s creator is a man named Peter Lord. He is a wonderful Christian author and speaker. The story essentially goes that a turkey was just uncomfortable with who he was. He looked around and saw other turkeys and did what they did but just felt like he was supposed to be doing something else. There was an emptiness-a yearning- inside of him that wasn’t being met no matter how much he did. One day, he looked up and saw eagles soaring in the sky. He thought that that is exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted to be. When he made that public to his fellow turkeys, they were less than supportive and told him that he was a turkey and he needed to do turkey things just like the rest of the turkeys. But the more he did, the more he looked at other turkeys being great at being a turkey, he just never felt right. One day, he looked in the mirror and realized that he was an eagle trying to live like a turkey. He was getting so down because he was trying to live up to the turkey standards but it wasn’t working because he was never created to live like a turkey… he was created to live like an eagle. He just needed to realize his true identity.
When I heard this story, I immediately related it to “the world vs. the Christian” analogy where Christians try to live life by trying to meet their needs through fleshly/worldly ways instead of by seeking the Lord to meet the needs and desires He put in us.
…. AAANNNDDD that was me bringin the Sunday School answer… Just throw in some Chick-fil-a and you've got yourself a good Southern Christian girl answer :)
My counselor (my own personal bible study maker haha) pointed out to me that it is more like Christians who compare themselves to other Christians who are recognized for how much and what they do in the church and for the Lord.
The Holy Spirit is good at punching me in the face/heart (with love) through her.
We often mistake doing for the Lord as building a relationship with Him.
In the Church today, there seems to be more of an emphasis on and more praise for those that DO over those that SIT at His feet.
I grew up in Grayson. My dad was the pastor at First Baptist pretty much my whole life. One of the many things I admire about my parents is that after every service, they would go to the main door and talk to everyone on their way out. When I was younger, my mom was really sick and wasn’t able to come to every service and do that as much. So, I began to take her place. I wanted to love people like my parents loved people. I knew that mom would have wanted to be there doing that beside my dad but she couldn’t, so I wanted to do it for her.
Overtime, helping and, honestly, having position at church became the foundation of my identity. That is one of the main reasons why I had such a hard time at first when we were no longer at Grayson because that was all I had known… it was who I was. Even though I truly accepted Christ into my heart at 9, and was baptized there, and knew that I was saved by grace through faith in Jesus…my identity as a Christian had become more of a do-er and a know-er than a sitter and a believer.
I knew a lot of Christ’s teachings and about the Bible and about what a Christian looked like. But my false identity was in the way of actually living in what I knew and believed.
In college and even after, I have continued to do do do because I felt like that’s what was expected of me and what I needed to do to gain God’s approval.
I know that our salvation is not dependent on good works, but by grace. However, what was a constant in my mind is that the bible says, “Faith without works is dead” James 2:17. So, I was thinking that God’s approval of me and desire to use me depended on what I did for Him and His Kingdom on earth.
I had just simply been reading the bible and not actually asking the Lord to reveal Himself and His truth to me through it.
To do things for the Lord and His Kingdom is not a bad thing. We all know that words only go so far, then the action needs to step in and make the truth be validated…
A clown can adverstize on their little VW Bug that they're hilarious and make life-like baloon animals all day long, but that doesn't mean jack if they come to a birthday party and pop all the baloons and make the little kids cry. That clown is no longer legit and all his/her sign-age means nothing and they might as well trade the VW Bug in for a Crown Vic (because nothing is funny or cute about one of those.)
What was making me not legit was not that I couldn't make good baloon animals, but the problem was my motivations and intentions were not always in the right place. I would manipulate situations so that I could try to get that position back in the church that I was used to…but I didn’t even realize it until looking back. I was thinking that in my own strength and in my own way, I could eventually do enough to become worthy, to be acceptable, to be righteous in God’s eyes.
But that is so vain. And NOT why Christ DIED for us. God sent His only Son because we could never reach that point on our own. Christ exchanged His perfect life for our imperfectness. When we accept Him, HE MAKES US WORTHY, ACCEPTABLE, AND RIGHTEOUS. Choosing Him is all we need to DO. Then, allow Him to work all things for good in our lives (Romans 8:28) for His glory. God specializes in using imperfect people for His greatness. (That’s my prayer for this blog/my life.)
You’ve gotta sit at His feet and soak Him up- choose Him as your truth and identity- allowing Him to transform your doing in to actions that are purely motivated for the furtherance of His Kingdom and glory. (See the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42)
I have come to realize that I was striving for the freedom and abundant life that Christ offers by doing but,
my striving was hindering me from experiencing that freedom.
The bible tells of a situation where a rich young ruler approached Jesus and told Jesus that his whole life, he had kept the commandments and done what he was supposed to do so he was wondering what else he needed to do to get into heaven:
17(A) And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and(B) knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to(C) inherit eternal life?" 18And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. ~Matthew 10:17-18
The problem here is that the rich young ruler was focusing on all the he had DONE and called Jesus good… identified Jesus as good… because of what he had seen Jesus DO…
The rest of the story…
19You know the commandments:(D) 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" 20And he said to him, "Teacher,(E) all these I have kept from my youth." 21And Jesus,(F) looking at him,(G) loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go,(H) sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have(I) treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22(J) Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
In love, Jesus had struck down the young man's emphasis he had put on doing. Jesus wasn’t saying that the only way people get into heaven is that they have to do all of these things and then the biggest thing they have to do is give all of their stuff away- NO!
Jesus was pointing out that no matter how much we do, it’s never enough. That when our focus and our question becomes more about “What can I do?” rather than “Can I just have more of You, Lord?” we will never be satisfied.
Having your questions in the right order will revolutionize your life, ignite freedom in your life, and will be contagious to those around you.
Let's not be eagles living as turkeys.
Let's get out of the comparison and one-upping trap.
Let's develop and emphasize more discipleship and more true bible study.
As a direct result of this revelation in my life, I have felt more freedom and pure joy. Throughout the day I pray that sitting at His feet will be first and that the Spirit will help me to keep my motivations pure, and that dispite my many flaws, His love, glory, passion for His people, and Truth will flow out of me.
I pray that I stop striving and choose to allow Christ to live through me.
See ya Turkey-life… Hello Eagle-life!
He (The Lord) gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint. ~Isaiah 40:31
I love you!
Turkeys and Eagles by Peter Lord (SeedSowers, 1977)
Passionate about Jesus and people, I've added this blog to communicate strategy and thoughts about Biblical Hospitality and The Church as a movement, rather than just people in a building once a week. It seems like everyone is blogging these days, (which is awesome!) and I know that there are always better and more insightful thoughts, but God is leading this so I'm just writing in obedience.