by Jill Larsen
Chef Amos was no ordinary chef. He was famous. He was the chef people paid hundreds of dollars to watch and taste what he could make. Chef Amos had one favorite ingredient. Eggs. In every meal, he would always include eggs. If he made oatmeal, lobster, steak, you name it – there would be eggs.
When Chef Amos announced one day that he was going to go from farm to farm, looking for the best eggs, you can be sure that all the lady hens fluffed up their feathers and began working towards laying the best and biggest eggs. Yet no matter what the ladies did, they couldn’t produce a different egg. Always they were either white or brown, and the sizes varied little.
One day, one of the hens laid an egg that had a brown spot on it. Her fame spread throughout the land, and before long, she was known as the Queen of Eggs. Hens from far and wide came to see the Queen and seek her advice. She never admitted that she didn’t know what she’d done, and that it had just come out that way.
The Queen was horrified one day to hear that another hen had laid a pink striped egg. No way was she giving up her title as Queen. When nobody was looking, she laid another egg, grabbed some dirt from the ground, and smeared a large brown spot on her egg. Other hens gathered around, clucking in awe at the brown spotted egg. Once again, the Queen held her place of honor.
But it didn’t last long. Rumors came that other eggs were being produced that were different colors. Reds, yellows, blues, greens, and oranges. And they weren’t just solid colors, they were patterned and striped in beautiful arrays.
The Queen had to go see for herself. When she came to the place where the colored eggs were, all she could do was stand in amazement. Before her eyes, she could see for herself the most magnificent eggs she had ever seen. Her brown spotted egg paled in comparison.
Feeling defeated, the Queen hid behind a wall and watched the other hens. What was their secret? One lady laid an egg, and it was perfectly white. The Queen felt a tinge of relief. So not all the hens here laid colored eggs. But then as she watched, the hen took her new egg, and rolled it to a bucket. Other hens helped her immerse the egg in a pink fluid. After a few minutes, they took the egg out. It was pink!
Thrilled at her discovery, she was about to leap out when the farmer came along.
“What has happened to the eggs?” he asked the hens.
“We decorated them.” They replied. “We want them to stand out for the chef when he comes.”
“Don’t decorate them. They’re already perfect.” The farmer said as he carried away the colorful eggs.
While the hens clucked their displeasure, the Queen snuck over to the colored liquid. The ingredients were easy to see. Crayons, markers, dye, and vinegar. Without being noticed, she snuck away.
When she got home, she gathered the other hens around.
“I know what to do,” she told them as she described what she had seen.
Before long, the hens had the most beautifully decorated eggs seen yet. Other hens came around, and soon their secret was discovered. Some farmers didn’t allow their hens to decorate themselves, but the ones that did grew more and more competitive.
The chef was forgotten as the hens battled among themselves for popularity and the most shocking egg.
The Queen was startled the day the chef came. In the excitement of winning the best looking egg, she had forgotten all about why they had started decorating their eggs in the first place. With a thrill of anticipation, she watched as he walked over and gathered up their beautifully decorated eggs. She knew he would love their eggs the most.
Chef Amos pulled out a cooking grill. Spices, meats, vegetables, dairy and sauces soon graced his tables. A large crowd gathered. Other eggs were brought from other farms, each displayed in all their beauty. The Queen walked from basket to basket, scoffing at the plain eggs, and feeling nervous at some of the other artistic ones. She had to win! Glancing around, she saw no one was looking at her. With her beak she reached over and pushed one of the most beautiful eggs to the ground. With satisfaction she heard the crack and splatter as it hit the ground. That egg wouldn’t be winning.
Chef Amos began talking, and everyone grew silent as they watched the Master at work. Smells filled the air, and people leaned forward in their chairs. The hens gathered around. The Chef took one of the most brightly colored eggs. He cracked it open in his frying pan.
“What is this?!” he cried. “My meal is ruined. I need to start over.”
With that he took the frying pan and emptied all the contents into the garbage.
“I don’t want colored eggs. I just want natural eggs.”
For a moment all went blurry as the Queen sat and caught her breath. Surely the Chef hadn’t just said he didn’t want any colored eggs. Why? But as he took a bowl and began cracking the colored eggs, one by one, into a big glass bowl, she saw why. As each egg fell into the bowl, colorful dyes mixed together. At first it looked like a rainbow, but when Chef Amos mixed it together it turned into a slimy brown mixture.
“How did this happen?” he asked. “I want eggs to cook with, and instead I find dyed goop.”
The Queen hung her head in shame. Here she had been so proud, so sure of herself, that she had lost sight of what really mattered. All the times she had scorned the farmers that wouldn’t allow their hens to color their eggs, but now she could see why. The Chef didn’t care what the eggs looked like on the outside, it was the inside that counted.
So forlorn she felt, that she didn’t realize she had laid an egg while sitting there. But her farmer did. And when he picked up the egg, he handed it to the Chef.
“Now that is a beautiful, fresh, egg.” The Chef said with glee as he added it to his frying pan.
Before long, the people oohed and aahed their pleasure as they bit into the delicious meal. The Queen tried with all her might to feel happy that they liked her egg, but she just couldn’t feel proud. Her world had just changed so much. But when the farmer patted her on the head, she felt a little better.
She never did hear who won the competition, who the Chef proclaimed to be the best farmer with the best eggs. But she did learn that you should never lose sight of what really matters, and it’s what is on the inside that counts.
Moral: you are fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s not a competition with God, we are all valuable and all special. It doesn’t matter what we do to the outside of us, so long as the inside of us remains pure and the way he made us. But sometimes the things we do to ourselves and to our body seep into our spirit, making the real us that God looks at, tainted and stained.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7