My Children, a Kid’s Meal Storybook, and Gospel Conversations

When I got home yesterday, I changed out of my work clothes and found my two boys hanging out in our bedroom.  They had been to Chick-fil-A earlier in the day and wanted me to read them the book they got in their kid’s meal.  It was a Little Golden Book called The Little Red Hen.  I had never read this book before, and although I do understand that not every book that comes in a Chick-fil-A kid’s meal is by C.S. Lewis, I read it to them anyway.

The story is about a talking hen who decides to plant some wheat and calls on some other talking animals (a duck, a goose, a cat and a pig) for help.  The hen gets denied by each of these “friends”, but that doesn’t stop her from asking their help at each step in the process from planting the wheat, to harvesting it, to making it into flour, to making it into dough and baking it into bread.  As you may expect, they continue to say “no”.   When the bread is baked, cooled, and ready to eat, each of the “friends” is now ready to sacrifice their time and energy to come over to the hen’s house and help her eat the bread, but the story ends with the hen sitting at her table by herself, eating the entire loaf with a big smile on her face.

Now, I’m sure that this story was written to teach children something about kindness and being quick to help, but as soon as I read the last page I thought, “Dude, where’s the grace?  The little red hen missed a chance to live out the gospel and chat with her neighbors over a meal about the gospel implications of unmerited giving (assuming she knows Jesus).”  At this point, I closed the book and proceeded to explain to my boys that the other animals didn’t deserve the bread the hen made because they refused to help her.  But if the hen would’ve given them the bread in spite of their unkindness, she would’ve been following the example of Jesus, who gave himself to rescue a people who have only treated him unkindly.

My reason for telling you this story is to point out that there are gospel conversations everywhere.  Not only are they waiting inside kids’ folk stories like this one, but they’re out in nature, in the news headlines, in our problems and relational conflicts, in politics, in movies, in the mundane tasks of home life, and so on.  Pray for God to open your eyes so you can see them, and use them in your family, at church, at work, and with your friends.


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About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

2 responses to “My Children, a Kid’s Meal Storybook, and Gospel Conversations

  • lori

    this story of the little red hen is “ancient”. we heard it when we were growing up. it was used to teach a STRONG WORK ETHIC. it is kind of like the story of the ant and the grasshopper if you have ever heard that one. not sayin’ you can’t share, but everybody’s gotta help pull their own weight.
    I think this story came from “the great generation” of the depression and WWII era.

    • Brent Osterberg

      Hey Lori, a strong work ethic is something i’m eager to promote, but my point was simply that there are opportunities for gospel conversation at every corner. I want my boys to be hard workers, but i’m also praying that God saves them by his unmerited grace, so they become men who extend that grace to those who don’t deserve it in the hopes that God will save them too.

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