January 13, 2012

Dead Chicken Wrangler

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , at 11:07 pm by Tamara


The other night I had to use a whole chicken for a recipe.  I’m not particularly freaked out by raw meat, but there’s just something mildly disturbing about being covered in bacteria-infested slime from a dead animal as you tug and hack away at it.

Life lately is a little less than glamorous.  In theory, we’re trying to get into fulltime ministry.  In practice, life doesn’t feel much like ministry.  It seems like things like “serving God,” “ministry,” “missions,” etc. should have at least an aspect of glamour to them.  Like there should be some sort of heart-swelling feeling of changing the world and leading people out of darkness and sacrificing for a cause and being looked up to as a spiritual giant.  Like I should feel like God’s special favorite, like he’s proud of me.  Happy with me.  I don’t quite envision ministry to entail things like living with my parents and spending half the day wrestling with a dead chicken.

I was reading Leviticus a while back, and thinking how awful being a high priest sounds.  Here is the man with the most “spiritual” job in the whole country, and his job seems…disgusting.  I wonder what Aaron thought when he heard the list of his new responsibilities and compared them to his brother’s.  I have to wonder if I would have been angry:

Well isn’t this just fantastic.  Here’s my spoiled, stuttering brother Moses, who already got to grow up in palace luxury while I was a slave, and now he gets the glamour of leading the nation, and what do I get?  I get the nasty, bloody job of constantly slaughtering, dissecting, bleeding, burning, and cooking sacrifices.  I get to check for hairs growing in yellow skin sores.  I get to inspect houses for mildew.  I get to tend fires and lamp stands and carry heavy things.  I get to teach people laws about bodily discharges.  I get to kick people with infectious skin diseases out of the city.  Wonderful.  Sign me up.

But there is something incredible, awesome, jaw-dropping that priests got to do that no one else did: they got to commune with God.  There is only one person who gets to go into the holy of holies, into God’s very presence and glory: the high priest.

Pillar of Fire

The wonder of that is easy to miss, because I forget how great my God is.  This is the God who shakes mountains, who thunders and smokes, who makes men fall down in terror, who can make your skin radiate after just a glimpse of his back, who makes walls of water crash down over entire armies, who conceals himself in a giant swirling pillar of fire.  To approach him is a very, VERY big deal.  To communicate with him, be his special assistant, step in between him and people he’s angry with, be a recipient of his blessings, sweep the floor of his house…these are big deals.

“Ministry” for me right now is NOT glamorous.  It is not heart-swelling.  I do not feel like I’m impacting anyone, or helping anyone, or doing anything grand to advance the kingdom.  No one is impressed by me or looking up to me.   Lately I am cutting a lot of chicken, changing a lot of diapers, doing a lot of apartment searching, paying lots of bills, scrubbing lots of gunk, etc, etc, etc.  I don’t feel very “useful” to God.  But if Leviticus teaches me anything about service to God, it’s that serving doesn’t always involve glamorous things.  That’s not the point.

What I DO as God’s servant isn’t always glamorous, but what I GET is very, very glamorous: I get to know God.

Friends with the God who made THIS.

What could be more glamorous or heart-swelling than getting to personally be friends with the creator of the universe?  To communicate with him whenever I want?  To know that the veil keeping me out of the Holy of Holies was dramatically ripped in half when Jesus died, and now I can go in his presence whenever I want?  To know that he loves me and values me, and that neither of those is dependent on how glamorous or important or useful I am (or feel)?

As I was writing this, a snippet of a verse floated through my head, so I went to find it.  It sums it up pretty well:

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.  For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.  O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”  Psalm 84:10-12

So no matter how insignificant my daily grind may seem sometimes, that’s really not the point.  I’m a dead chicken wrangler in the house of the God of the universe, and not only that, he’s my friend.  That certainly makes my heart swell a bit.


P.S.  This post was really hard to come up with pictures and a title for.  “God’s Diaper Changer?”  Um, nope.  Pictures of slaughtered little lambies?  Um, no.



  1. Adam Hamill said,

    What a beautiful story – working hard but not feeling like we’re going where we want doesn’t always feel glamorous, but it’s definitely good to know God is more patient with us than we are with ourselves (or Him!).

  2. Dad said,

    Bloom where you’re planted.

  3. Mom said,

    I like what Dad said. And I’d like to say, I’m impressed with both you and Adam. :-)

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