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.