Many of you remember my God is Bigger Than a Free Range Chicken post, and fondly refer to it as one that was refreshing and life changing for you. It made the Best Of Heavenly Homemakers book as one of the top picks. Fun!
If I were to summarize that post, I would simply say: If you can’t afford free range chicken (or fill in the blank with any number of other great food options like grass fed beef or cage free eggs), you need not worry. God is bigger. He will provide. And at least serving your family a conventionally raised chicken is better than serving them highly processed boxed food filled with MSG.
So that’s that.
Beyond the Free Range Chicken
Today I’d like to share with you how far God has taken me in a different direction during the past few years in regard to the free range chicken.
Yes, I still prefer to serve my family grass fed beef and free range poultry. Yes, I love my organic greens. Truly, I can tell the difference in cage free eggs compared to regular store bought.
But none of this – not any of it – matters when I look beyond all that is physical and earthly into what I believe God asks us to focus on for His Kingdom purposes.
Perhaps I could restate this by re-writing my own version of 1 Corinthians 13: If I have a perfectly raised, free range chicken, but have not love, I am nothing but a conscientious cook whose meat is free of antibiotics. If I have dozens of cage free eggs, a refrigerator full of organically grown produce, and a freezer filled with grass fed beef, but have not love, I am nothing.
But then, of course, I’d need to switch back to the actual words from this passage once we get to verse four: “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud…”
A couple years ago, Matt and I asked God to show us what it really means to “Love God and love our neighbor.” He has been faithful to teach us and in short, we’ve learned that true love looks a lot different than inviting people into a perfectly clean house so that we can serve them grass fed pot roast with a side of organic carrots.
God’s love looks like seeing people who are often overlooked. It looks like listening to people who are lonely. As of late, for Matt and me, love looks like spending time with new friends who just got out of prison and are determined to make a new life for themselves in Jesus. It looks like forming relationships with recovering addicts who are letting God be at the heart of their transformation and healing. It looks like hearing people’s stories, sharing our own stories, and being completely open to letting the Holy Spirit lead our days.
As God has been gently changing my heart focus, the quality of my chicken matters less and less to me.
I absolutely do still care about nourishment and believe that we should be caring for our bodies well so that we can love others well. But if you’ve noticed an extreme shift in my recipes and food encouragement that has taken us from spending hours in the kitchen to keeping our food as simple as possible, this is why.
God’s people matter more than free range chicken. Loving others in the name of Jesus trumps all.
What should this love and outreach look like from one home to another? Only God has the answer to this question. Ask and you shall receive. This is guaranteed by Jesus himself.
So where does this leave our beloved free range chicken? It all depends on what God provides for each day. His ways are perfect, His provision is flawless, and we can rest peacefully knowing that we can trust Him completely.
Jennifer Koehler says
Love, love, and LOVE this post! I want my family nourished, but I want time with my family-not the dishes! And what better way to minister to and welcome people to our home with good food than to be able to fix it fast and simply so it doesn’t seem a burden? God bless you! Yours is my favorite blog of all time. I hope you keep doing it till Christ appears in the clouds… :)
Amen! You reflect Him beautifully! You’re telling the Truth, which encourages moms who can easily believe the lie that we can control our family’s health and security through diet. Of course we have a responsibility to care for them well and be wise stewards of the resources God’s given us. But their health and well being? God reminds us we are not in control. He is. He says “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”
Catherine Hicks says
I think it’s great to try to buy meat and poultry that has been treated and fed well during it’s lifetime, but I know it’s not always possible to make the budget stretch that far (or even find these kinds of products.) One thing I refuse to buy, or support buying, is the ritual slaughter (torture) of animals which is what happens when you buy halal-certified meat and poultry. I would prefer to buy ordinary chicken or beef than beautiful pasture-grazed, free-range, chemical-free that has been ritually slaughtered and dedicated to a false god in the process.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
When I saw the title of this post, I was expecting maybe a post about what you choose to make a priority with your shopping/food needs. Maybe a recipe.
I was pleasantly surprised to find instead, a post that I teared up reading. Because to me, THIS is what love looks like. I have family and friends who have been in prison. Family and friends who were/are addicted. Those are the people who need our love.
Every season of life is different from the next. This one just happens to be simple and full of love.
What a beautiful reminder! It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day business of life that it’s easy to forget our true purpose.
God bless you and your family, Laura.
Priscilla F. says
So well said Laura! God bless you and Matt ever so richly, and give you all the wisdom you need, as you seek His will and live it out moment by moment. I love your paraphrase of 1 Cor. 13. So. Totally. True! :) Let me just say, I’ve been following your blog for years now, and have appreciated your leanings towards healthy, without condemning others or sounding snobby in your food choices. THAT is the Christlike way to lead and blog, yes even on a “food” blog! :)
Nodding my head – well said!
Thanks for writing an honest, practical, meaningful, and insightful article, “Beyond the free-range chicken”. You hit the nail on the head. Keep up the good writing.
This is so true; thank you as always for sharing and being so transparent, and reminding us to keep checking where our focus is-sharing God’s love. What else are we here for? I so appreciate the encouraging community you provide here-I’m with Jennifer/the first post -please keep it coming!
This post really spoke to me. I try to feed my family nourishing meals the best I can but also am finding it is not the most important focus. Desire most to obey God in all He desires for us and the stress of perfectly healthy food has not been as important. Thank you for putting my heart into words. Appreciate your website so much.
Laura S says
So beautiful and well-written!
I am coming to that realization too, but with my home. Not that I don’t need to tend it. It’s just that it is not as important as I think it is. My Bible study leader one time said, “It will all burn.” I was shocked at that, but it put things in perspective for me. It is good to have a home that is peaceful for my family and a place I can serve others, but really, the people is the only eternal thing there is. I need to remember that people are always my priority. And most people don’t care about a little dust or laundry waiting to be folded. They care that someone is willing to listen and pray.
Thanks for that :)
LOVE this!! So encouraging and beautiful. God bless you!!