There was a certain man who went through the forest seeking any bird of interest he might find. He caught a young eagle, brought it home and put it among the fowls and ducks and turkeys, and gave it chicken food to eat even though it was the king of birds.
Five years later, a naturalist came to see him and, after passing through the garden, remarked, ‘That bird is an eagle, not a chicken.”
“Yes,” said the owner, “but I have trained it to be a chicken. It is no longer an eagle.”
“No,” said the naturalist, “it is an eagle still. It has the heart of an eagle, it has the wing span of an eagle, and I will help it soar high up into the heavens.”
“No,” said the owner. “It is a chicken and it will never fly.”
They agreed to test it. The naturalist picked up the eagle, held it up and said with great intensity, “Eagle, you are an eagle. You belong to the sky and not to this earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”
The eagle turned this way and that, and then looking down, saw the chickens eating their food, and down he jumped.
The owner said, “I told you it was a chicken.”
“No,” said the naturalist, “It is an eagle. Give it another chance tomorrow.”
So the next day he took it to the top of the house and said: “Eagle, you are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” But again the eagle, seeing the chickens feeding, jumped down and fed with them.
Then the owner said: “I told you it was a chicken.”
“No,” asserted the naturalist, “It is an eagle, and it has the heart of an eagle. Give it one more chance, and I will make it fly tomorrow.”
The next morning he rose early and took the eagle outside the city and away from the houses, to the foot of a high mountain. The sun was just rising, gilding the top to the mountain with gold, and every crag was glistening in the joy of a beautiful morning.
He picked up the eagle and said to it: “Eagle, you are an eagle. You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”
The eagle looked around and trembled as if new life were coming to it. But it did not fly. The naturalist then grabbed its head and made it look straight at the sun. Suddenly it stretched out its wings and, with the screech of an eagle, it flew out of his hands and mounted higher and higher and never returned. Though it had been kept and tamed as a chicken, it was an eagle.
You see….You take us humans and put us among the ducks, turkeys and chickens in this world and give us rules to live by and tell us that we are moral people so long as we live by those rules, and we will contently live out our lives in a meager existence.
But let Jesus Christ come along, knock you to the ground, straighten your back, and point your head toward the heavens, and then suddenly you realize who you are — you are a son or a daughter of God, created in God’s own image! You and I are not chickens, you and I are eagles! A God Alert
Thanks to Brett Blair for this story.
What are you doing this Lent to help you soar like the Eagle that God created you to be?