Preparing the Vessel, Lessons in Faith at the Chicken Coop

Where was the most unexpected place you have learned a lesson about faith?  
I allowed my frustration to get the best of me.  I lost my temper and broke my favorite egg-gathering basket. It might not seem like much, but I don't like spending money on things I shouldn't have broken.  And what I soon discovered was that there might just be a lesson that that God was going to teach me. #GodIsGood #AllTheTime

How It Started

The obvious lesson I was learning seemed to be that I would need to raise the fence even higher if I wanted to keep the chickens out of my garden.  Several of the girls had discovered since the first year of our garden that they could jump or fly to the top of the fence and go inside to dig around and have their run of the place!

I had observed them doing it since late fall and realized I needed to deal with it as soon as possible because spring gardening adventures were coming up!  We don't clip the wings of our flock of free-range chickens because we want them to be able to fly away from predators if necessary.  I would therefore need to raise the fence's height if they were able to get over it if I had any hope of keeping my plants safe.

When I was chasing them out of the open gate I had entered through that afternoon, how did I actually respond? I hurled my metal basket in their direction in the hopes that they would turn and leave through the door rather than continue to have me chase after them.  Did it work? No.  Did it bust my favorite egg gathering basket that I had found at a thrift store and wouldn't be able to easily replace for its one of a kind unique design?  Yes.

So now I had to go buy something generic from the store and spend money I shouldn't have needed to if I had just controlled my temper or dealt with my fencing issue sooner.

A Hasty Choice

As I hastily headed down the chicken aisle at the local feed store, I saw their metal baskets and quickly grabbed one that seemed like it might hold up well, but also tried to remind myself that I mustn't throw it...  I headed to the check-out and cracked a joke with the cashier that this one seemed sturdy in the chance that it might hypothetically get thrown toward naughty garden invading chickens.  "Hypothetically" of course.  #SlowLearner

I didn't put much planning into the purchase, just knew that I needed one for my daily chores and happened to be in that aisle for another chicken need that I had.  In the background however, my purchase didn't align with my desires, even with what I had been praying for over our homestead.  

Like many other farmers, we had seen our flock generally failing to produce as they came of age in 2022 and were consuming a standard feed store diet.  We tried supplementing and doing all we could to ensure their health was good, but before winter even started, we were missing production and didn't know why.

Fast forward through a great awakening by so many small farmers like us, and we realized we had control to change one major input they had, and we did.  Thankfully by the end of January 2023 we had selected a locally milled, non-GMO feed made in Ava, MO not much more than an hour from our homestead.

So after months of frustrations, research, prayers, and anything else we could think of, we slowly seemed to be on our way to the increase in production we had wanted!  So why then did I not better prepare myself for the very thing that I said that I wanted?  

Throughout the winter, we were less than a dozen eggs a day coming in from a flock of just under 90 laying hens (don't judge our chicken math, that is a story for another day).  So if I was eager for a fully producing and healthy flock, why did I not buy a larger basket when I had the opportunity to?  Within just a day or two, I saw my friend Susan had posted a picture of the same type of basket, but hers was so much larger!  

I had prayed for blessings, but didn't have a basket ready big enough to receive what God had in store for me!

Preparing for God's Abundance

I can remember of a few instances in the Bible where people were told to make themselves ready to receive the blessings or abundance that God has in store for them.  Do you remember these from Sunday school or Bible study?

Elisha and the Widow's Oil - In 2 Kings 4:1–7, Elisha gave the widow instructions on how to gather empty jars from her neighbors and fill them with the little oil she had left.  She proceeded to fill each jar as the oil miraculously kept flowing as she did so.  She was instructed by Elisha to sell the oil and utilize the proceeds to settle her debts.  In order to receive the generous oil blessing, the widow had to prepare the jars.

The Feeding of the 5,000 - In Matthew 14:13–21, Jesus used merely five loaves of bread and two fish to feed a sizable multitude.  But first Jesus told his disciples to get the people to sit down on the grass in groups.  The disciples prepared the people to accept the plentiful blessing of the food by gathering the multitude and making them sit down.

We can see from Elisha's story of the widow's oil and the feeding of the 5,000 that preparation was required in both instances in order to receive the blessings and abundance that God had planned.  The disciples had to gather the audience and get them to sit down in order to witness the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fish, while the widow had to gather empty jars to hold the oil that God would supply.

Similar to this, we must be ready in our own life to accept the benefits and riches that God has in store for us!

Components of Preparation

Similar to this, we must be ready in our own life to accept the benefits and riches that God has in store for us.  Several crucial components make up this preparation:

  1. Faith - Just like the widow and the disciples, we must have faith in God's ability to meet our needs and shower us with his blessings.  Why wasn't I buying a basket for dozens and dozens of eggs if that is what I wanted and needed to have faith that was possible?  He had brought us this far, given us the blessings of this flock and homestead, so I needed to have faith He wouldn't fail me.
  2. Obedience - We must follow God's commands, despite the fact that they don't make sense or appear challenging.  Despite it happening in my moment of frustration, perhaps He was leading me to buy a new basket and testing my faith in the process.
  3. Diligence - In order to position ourselves to receive God's benefits, we must act, and act in the measure of faith of what we are praying for.  
  4. Generosity - Just as the widow had to ask her neighbors for jars, we need to be willing to offer freely of our time, money, and abilities.  We have tried to help as many friends and neighbors get access to fresh eggs as we possibly could, we often didn't even have a full dozen saved up for ourselves.  But we knew more were coming, but had some farming and faith lessons to learn in the process!
We build a vessel that is ready to accept God's plan and abundance when we have trust, obedience, diligence, and charity.  We put ourselves in a position to receive the rewards that God has planned for us and we are able to carry out the special mission He has for every one of our lives.

So as I learn these lessons in my own life, and in my garden and at the chicken coop, I hope they might be helpful reminders to you today as well.

Tell me, where was the most unexpected place you have learned a life lesson? 

Information courtesy of Echo Alexzander


  1. Debbie Sullivan  02/28/2024 08:03 AM Central
    This is an awesome word of wisdom given!!
    I never thought of preparing myself to receive Gods ABUNDANT blessings that are always more than we could ask or imagine.
    What is my posture to receive?
    And then the four points were so good. I am going to chew on this lesson for some time. ❤️
    Thank you Echo!!
  2. Beautiful lesson!

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