December 13, 1989
Contact lenses for chickens? Can you believe it? A fellow from Wellesley, Massachusetts has actually perfected and hopes to market red-colored lenses for chickens at 15-20 cents a pair. According to this inventor, the poultry industry stands to profit millions. But what can red contact lenses do for a chicken?
My brothers used to think the worst fate a farm boy could fall into was become a chicken rancher. Nothing was dumber than a laying hen and that profitless pecking order. The poor hen on the low end was always without feathers on her backside and seldom laid any eggs. The hen on the top wasn’t much better. Her production suffered because she spent so much effort making sure all others knew she was number one. Number two, while sidestepping number one, made sure number three knew who was top chicken over her. Challengers to any position in hen-house hierarchy were put in their place in a squawking flurry of flying feathers.
Here is where contact lenses come in. The father of the lens inventor heard that chickens with cataracts didn’t fight as much (I kid you not), so he tried making mini-monocles for his hens. Unfortunately, the lenses didn’t work: the hens went blind, couldn’t find their nests, were stressed out and egg production dropped. Dad wasn’t too happy. Son went off to college and could have forgotten the whole thing... but he didn’t.
Modern lens-making techniques developed. Son, by now a successful businessman, sold his business to make lenses for chickens. The rose-colored glasses, actually quite red, are worn by the chic laying hen every day of her life. Fights decrease, production increases and the hen doesn’t need quite so much chicken feed. Hence, the poultry industry, for a paltry few cents a bird, ought to profit handsomely.
Have you noticed that people have a system of hierarchy too? It starts in the playground where it’s marked by name-calling and black eyes. While it may “mature” and wear disguises, the power struggle goes on in adult clubs, businesses and other organizations, taking its toll in morale and production. Christians need to be wary of this ordering too. Even the twelve disciples were caught in it. They constantly argued who would be the leader. Each one found fault with the others and each considered himself better than the rest. Jesus constantly reminded them they were not to be like the pagans who put people in power because they happened to be at the top of the order. He said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
But the twelve seemed deaf to His words. It was not until after His blood was shed for their sinful pride and after His Spirit took up residence in their hearts that Jesus’ words took hold... and, in a sense, He gave His disciples red-colored lenses.
The Bible says “without the shedding of blood there’s no forgiveness” so when Jesus died, His sacrifice made forgiveness possible. His blood covered our sin (somewhat like the lamb’s blood covered sin in the Old Testament sacrifices). As God looks at those who trust Christ, He no longer sees our sin but the covering provided by Christ at the cross.
The Holy Spirit enables believers to experience God’s forgiveness, then turn around and look at others with the same mercy as He looks at us. The blood that covers our sin also covers the next person’s sin. We see both ourselves and others as equal in Christ, not “I’m better than you.” And with that view, we are free from trying to fit into a hierarchy of any sort and free to lovingly serve needs and be productive.
Christians who lord it over one another have neglected to look as Jesus does, through the color of His forgiveness. While rose-colored glasses may work for laying hens, we need to remember continually the cross, the blood of Christ and its implications when our pride begins putting people in any kind of filing system.