12,000 egg-laying chickens taught my brother Joe and me principles for life. We did not have automatic feeders, egg gathering systems, and such, so most all was done by hand. Chickens do not recognize holidays, special events, nor do they have any respect for an important basketball game coming up. They just keep right on eating, and needing to be fed and watered, they keep right on laying eggs, that need to be gathered, cleaned, packed away, and stored in the cooler, and they keep on doing all the other things that they do that needs daily attention. In all of this, we learned principles of commitment, discipline, faithfulness, and ethical work practices. The pay was food, shelter, and gas money when we wanted to go into town and “cruise.” My Dad, the late Millard “Slim” Calhoun, saw to it that the work was carried out in a consistent manner. He was six foot six, over 250 pounds, had a voice like a bear, and did not have a reputation of being an “easy” construction boss. Mixed with Mother’s hard working, gentle love, we learned to have a healthy respect for our parents and people in general. You did not lie, you did not steal, and you did what you said you would do. Those were the days when we did not ever lock the car nor the house. We learned valuable principles that have paid off for the rest of our lives.
Jesus said that if any man will come after him, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). The cross is death to self will and your way of doing things. Your personal agenda is laid aside. You do things God’s way that are for the overall good of the kingdom, not just to accomplish your personal agenda. The attention is on Jesus and accomplishing his work through the power of the Holy Spirit. To accomplish this, commitment to truth, self-discipline, faithfulness, and ethical work practices must be maintained daily. If we will do the work of the kingdom with the same faithfulness that we are expected to work at our job or business, we will enjoy the benefits of the harvest.