Need for Nourishment
“How oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.” 3 Nephi 10:4
Our three-year-old daughter, Marianne, loves animals. Each morning she looks forward to going outside to feed the chickens. She grabs the old, white bucket we use to collect food scraps and shouts, “Let’s go and feed the chickens.” She opens the door and runs outside calling for them to come and eat their breakfast.
Believe it or not, chickens are quite smart about food and know what to look for. They will follow almost anyone carrying the white bucket, and they will come to a few who merely call for them. But when my familiar voice is heard, “Here chicky, chicky; here chicky,” they all come running full speed. The chickens really do know my voice and trust in it for food. When I call, they leave whatever else is holding their attention and come to me. It’s fun to watch.
There’s physical food and food for the soul. I’m in need of daily nourishment that lifts, sustains, and fills my being with light. One of the fruits manifested in the church of Christ is that the people are "nourished by the good word of God" Moroni 6:4.
As our family visits different churches, I’m learning to distinguish between my false traditions and the nourishing word of God. I have a different vantage point because I’m not bound by the traditions of these different religions. There are times when I feel God confirming and teaching the truth. Some congregations are full of a lot of Spirit, and I like to meet with them often. Some churches have very little spirit.
When the truth is being taught, I feel nourished. When the philosophies and traditions of men are promoted, my heart just feels empty and hollow. “And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.” D&C 93:39
Most church people seem to think they are the ones following Christ. They seem sincere in their devotion and offer up great sacrifices. It’s been enlightening for me to see others act out their false beliefs. It helps me to see my own false traditions. Throughout my life I’ve held on to many practices just because that’s the way it’s always been. However, the light of the Spirit at church hasn’t always nourished me at church.
Christ’s church nourishes. If that’s not happening, it’s a good chance the religious observances are only tradition. “And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness" D&C 50:21-25.
Need for Protection and Love
Last summer we had a mother hen that loved to sit on her eggs. We would often see her contently sitting on her nest personally caring for her unhatched chicks. We decided to stop gathering and taking her eggs each day and allowed her to do her motherly job. She faithfully cared for the eggs, kept them warm, and time passed.
Three weeks later she had six fluffy little chicks following her everywhere. She watched, protected, and cared for them daily. At night, she found a safe place, spread her wings, invited the chicks to come, and gathered them under her protective wings. They knew her call and came to her. They were vulnerable, defenseless, and constantly exposed to varying degrees of danger, but found warmth, safety, love, and comfort under the wings of their mother.
One day a cat happened by and tried to get the chicks. When the cat saw the defenseless chicks, he had full confidence in obtaining a delicious lunch. The cat was in for a surprise because he had under estimated the hen. He discovered that you just don’t mess around with the chicks of a mother hen. I believe she would have literally given her life to save her chicks from danger John 15:13-14.It was neat to watch the chicks respond to their mother. When she called them, they came running. They weren’t aware of the danger, but the mother hen was. They were contently pecking the ground until they heard their mother’s clucking. Under the safety of her wings, they watched and learned. She was willing to fight their battle against the cat. They allowed her to stand between them and danger. God desires to do the same for us, yet in our independence, we often refuse to be gathered. “O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!” D&C 43:24