A farmer had 600 chickens. Half of them died and the other half started acting sickly. He called the local agricultural agent, told him the situation, and asked, “What should I do?” The agent said, “You need to give the remaining 300 some penicillin.”
Not wanting to lose any more chickens, the farmer dutifully carried out his assignment. A few days later, though, another half of the chickens were dead. He called the agent again and said, “The penicillin didn’t work. Now I’m down to 150 chickens. What do you suggest?” The agent answered, “Give them some castor oil twice a day. That ought to help.”
So the farmer did as he was told. Despite his efforts, though, another 100 of his chickens died a couple of days later. He called the agent again and said, “Now I’m down to 50 chickens. Please, you’ve got to help me.” The agent said, “You mean the castor oil didn’t work? Boy, that’s strange. Okay, here’s what you need to do. Give each chicken an aspirin twice a day. I feel confident that will do the trick.”
One more time the farmer did as he was told, but again his efforts proved futile and the last 50 of his chickens died. He called the agent again and said, “I just want you to know that all of my chickens are dead now.” The agent said, “Really? That’s a shame. I had a lot more remedies to try.”
Many times we operate like that agricultural agent. Our marriages aren’t working? “Let’s try this.” Our relationships with our kids are broken? “Let’s give this a shot.” Our financial situation is a mess? “Maybe this will work.” Our churches are disasters? “The latest book says we should do this.”
We seem to never run out of plots, plans, schemes, and quick fixes. Our human logic is boundless. Our human reasoning knows no end. If one thing doesn’t work, we just try another. Then another. Then another. And there’s always a new book, a new video series, a new movement, or a new fad that confidently claims to have the answer. No matter what we try, though, our decline continues.
When will we realize that God is the one who has the answers we need? He is the one who can correctly diagnose the problem and tell us what to do about it. He is the great fixer. But isn’t it funny (funny as in sad) that we will act upon everybody’s advice except His? It reminds me of the married couple who were discussing a certain problem they were having. The wife said, “I think we need to pray about this.” Flabbergasted, the husband replied, “Prayer? Has it come to that?”
God instructs us through His written word, the Bible. He instructs us through circumstances — closed doors, open doors, problems, and opportunities. If we are born again Christians, He instructs us through His Spirit who dwells inside us. But God can’t help us if we either don’t ask for His help or don’t implement His instructions. You see, the breakdown doesn’t occur on His end; it occurs on our end. And until we get our end in proper working order, our chickens will keep dying.