The true story is told of a Midwestern farmer who found a young eaglet. The bird’s wing was injured to the point that flying was impossible. The farmer carefully picked up the eaglet and took it back to his farm. Not knowing exactly what to do with it, he put it in the pen with his chickens. It wasn’t long afterward that the farmer noticed something odd: the eaglet had begun to mimic the chickens. It pecked for food, drank from the waterer, and scratched around in the ground for worms.
Over the course of the next several weeks, the eaglet’s wing healed, but the bird made no attempt to fly out of the pen. It just continued to act like a chicken. The farmer actually began to feel sorry for it. The bird’s beautiful feathers were becoming dusty and its sharp beak was becoming discolored from all the pecking on the ground.
One day a young man happened to pay a visit to the farm. As he passed by the chicken pen, he saw the eaglet scratching around in the dirt like the chickens. When he asked the farmer about the bird, the farmer told him the story. The young man said, “It was nice of you to bring him home and take care of him, but now that his wing is healed surely you will let him go.” The farmer responded, “He can leave anytime he wants to, but I’m afraid he’s forgotten how to fly.”
Upon hearing that, the young man became determined to help the eaglet. With the farmer tagging along, he took the bird out to the area where the farmer had found it. Then he placed the eaglet on his arm and yelled, “Go, boy, go!” The eaglet, however, didn’t budge. It just sat there looking confused.
Then suddenly, from high in the sky, a mighty shriek was heard. It was the shriek of a mother eagle flying overhead. When the eaglet heard this shriek and saw the mother eagle, it gingerly tested its injured wing and then cautiously launched off from the young man’s arm. At first, it circled slowly overhead as if gathering its confidence. Then it shot up into the sky to join the mother eagle. As the young man watched the eaglet soar away, he said to the farmer, “Now that’s what he was meant to do.”
Christian, I’ve got a question for you: Are you doing what you are meant to do for Christ? In Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, and Ephesians 4:7-16, the Bible teaches that God has imparted at least one spiritual gift to each Christian. Many Christians have been given more than one, but every Christian has been given at least one. A spiritual gift is not the same thing as a natural talent. It is an ability or skill the Christian did not have before the moment of salvation. At the moment of salvation, when God the Holy Spirit came to dwell inside the Christian’s body and create the born-again experience, the Holy Spirit brought the gift or gifts to the Christian. Just as we are born physically with natural talents, Christians are born again spiritually with at least one spiritual gift. And every spiritual gift is to be used in service to Christ. It is the Christian’s unique way of doing something for the Savior.
This is where I come back to the story of the eaglet that acted like a chicken. Perhaps you, Christian, need to learn from that eaglet. Tell me, are you content to live somebody else’s life? Is it enough for you to mimic another Christian’s spiritual gift? Are you afraid to take off and fly the way that God has gifted you to fly? Listen, sometimes you’ve just got to launch out in faith and go for it. I know it’s scary, but you need to do it. Don’t worry, if what you are doing is really of God, you won’t come crashing to the ground. Instead, you’ll spread your wings as you never have before and reach heights of service you never thought you could reach. But you’ve got to try. Remember, there is always room for another eagle in the sky of God’s service.