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: Paul wrote, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” 1 Timothy 4:16, NIV

Henny Penny Henny Penny, my black hen;
 She lays eggs for gentlemen.
Sometimes nine and sometimes ten
Henny Penny, my black hen.

        Old nursery rhyme

    Unlike the hen in the nursery rhyme, our black bantam hen prefers that the fruit of her labors do not go to feed gentlemen, or ladies, either, for that matter. So she hid her nest away where aforesaid nest robbers could not find her. However, the date of her last regular appearance was duly noted on the calendar, and twenty-one days later - the length of incubation for hen’s eggs - I was anticipating her reappearance with chicks.
    Some of the other residents of the barn knocked over a few bales from the hay stack, and Lo! I spy a hen looking out at me from a crevice between the bales thus exposed to view. A quick check showed that chicks were indeed hatching. There were five at that time, with more eggs to go.
    I left her for a time to finish her work. Cheeper(s) by the dozen - almost! She finally came out with eleven chicks. And I am positive she was smiling.
    I am always amazed at the vitality of newly hatched chicks. Once the entire clutch of eggs has hatched, mamma hen has them on the go. She will typically hunt for food almost immediately, as she  has  been  fasting  since  the  first egg started to hatch. At first, they stay pretty much under mamma’s feathers, and she guards them well. Soon, however, it is scratch and cluck, a special mamma hen cluck, that means, “Dinner is served.” The chicks dive after the choice bit of food she has uncovered.
    This is the time I most enjoy, watching as they learn about the world around them. I put out a chick water bottle for them to drink, and sat back to watch. They cocked their heads, and examined this new intruder into their world, but did not recognize it for what it was - a source of water. Finally, mamma hen went to the waterer, dipped in her beak, and tipped back her head. Quick as scat, eleven little chicks were around that waterer, dipping and tipping!
    While chicks are drawn to mamma hen’s cluck, it is her actions that model proper behavior and relationships to things in the world around them.
    Lest we forget, our own little ones, children and grandchildren, learn quickly from what we do, both good and bad. Our words may inform, but our actions demonstrate what really matters. We need to “model the message” in our culture that runs so contrary to Christian beliefs. We are to be living examples, not only to youth, but to the world as a whole. Read Paul's letters to Timothy, and “be diligent in these matters.
August 8, 2004   

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