Before I get to the story of this blog post, I want to let you praying friends know that we felt your prayers. We didn't "feel them" in some abstract, pie-in-the-sky kind of way. We felt your prayers through tangible evidence of God's power. So if you've been wondering, "Kyla asked for prayer. I prayed, but did it do anything?" The answer is yes. For example: my prayer request for a female LDP cabin leader. That prayer was answered! (Though it was answered through some creative shuffling around of people and resources. I can't remember how it all shook out). Thank you for praying. We pray in faith that God hears us, and that he has power to do his will here on earth. You did that!
The Good Farmer and the Big, Bad Wolf
In my last week at camp I was the speaker again. I decided to develop my speaking technique to include more parables and drama. I retrofitted a few well known tales to fit into my theme of how God gives us boldness. As I told the tales, I invited mission team members to participate as actors in my tales. After I told the "Good Farmer Tales," I tried to explain them using scripture.
I got this idea from my mom, who attended a baptism service this summer. At the service, they used the story of the Three Little Pigs to illustrate a Christian lesson. At the end of the tale when the Big Bad Wolf faces of against the last piggy they got the wolf to try to blow down the house with a leaf blower! It was a well received prop, as you can imagine! So I copied that idea and made my own Three Little Pigs tale.
The Three Little Pigs
The Good Farmer
Once upon a time, there was a very good farmer. Are there any farmers in the audience? Good! So this farmer, he will be familiar to you. This farmer was a good, good farmer. He had a BIG HEART. He loved his land, and he loved all the plants that grew from his land, and he loved all the animals he raised on his land. In fact, he knew the name of every animal that lived on his land. This farmer was wise, too. He had a LONG WHITE BEARD, which was a sign of his wealth of experience. He had been farming forever. He knew when to harvest his crops, and when to prune his trees, and which plants to weed and which plants to grow. This farmer, he was mighty, too. He had STRONG HANDS. If a lion attacked his sheep, he could kill it with a sling! If a fox menaced his chickens, he could create a clever trap for it. In fact, one time an eagle swooped down to steal a baby rabbit, but the farmer shot out his hand and grabbed it from mid air! His hand clamped around the eagle’s neck, and it was so scared that all its flying feathers fell out! And the eagle was obliged to join the chicken hutch.
All in all, the Good farmer was famous for his Big heart, his Great wisdom, and his Mighty strength. If you ever needed any help, he was the one to call.
[later on, I just introduced him as “Once Upon a Time there was a Good Farmer. He had a BIG HEART, GREAT WISDOM, and MIGHTY STRENGTH. If you ever needed help, he was the one to call.]
The Big Bad WOlf
Now, there lived in the wilderness an enemy to the good farmer. You may already know of him, for he is famous throughout the land. Yes, he was the Big Bad Wolf. The Big Bad Wolf hated the good farmer with all his being. Because the Good farmer loved his land and his animals, the Big Bad Wolf HATED that land, and those animals. The Big Bad Wolf had keen ears. All the time he would listen for the cries of a weak or lonely animal, so he might run to them and devour them. He had sharp eyes, and he could see in the darkness. So, if any farm animal strayed from the farm and wandered off into the night time, he would always notice them and seek to lead them to destruction. And he had sharp teeth and claws. You’re smart kids. You know what he used those for. In fact, the Big Bad Wolf was always roaming around in the shadows, seeking to steal, kill and destroy anything that the Good farmer loved.
[later on, I just introduce him as “Now in that same land was a Big, Bad Wolf. He had LONG EARS, KEEN EYES, and SHARP TEETH AND CLAWS. He was always roaming around, seeking to steal, kill and destroy.”]
So, one day three little pigs were taking a walk through the great forest near the farm, searching for truffles. But as they were walking, clouds covered the sun and it became very dark. The wind began to pick up. First it started off softly. Shush-shush-shush-shush-shush… but then it began to pick up, “woosh woosh woosh!” Very soon little raindrops started to fall “pitter patter pitter patter!" And before the three little pigs knew it, a torrential storm was raining down on their heads! “PATTERPATTERPATTERPATTER!!” As the rain fell, the three little pigs heard an ominous howl not too far off. They shivered and huddled together, and hoped against all hope that the wolf would not find them. After a long time, the rain became less, and less. Then the wind died down and it was calm again. But the three little pigs were in quite a sorry state! They were wet, and bedraggled, and fed up.
“Well, that certainly was unpleasant!” said one pig.
“Indeed, and did you not hear the howl of the Big Bad Wolf? He must be nearby. We can’t be caught in the open when he’s lurking around. He’ll kill us!” said the next.
“Yes, we should build shelters so that next time we’re out here, we are not caught in the storm!” said the last.
This idea seemed very good to them, so off they went to build houses for themselves.
Everything's Fine. Everything's good. Everything's fine, and good, and fine
Now, the first little pig was a very happy-go-lucky piggy. She came upon a grassy field and proceeded to wander through, plucking up a straw here, and a flower there. She looked up at the pretty blue sky and smiled at the fluffy clouds. “Why, what a perfectly lovely world it is!” she exclaimed. “I don’t believe there is ever any danger after all. The rain wasn’t all that bad, and I’d wager that the Big Bad Wolf is just a sweet little puppy-dog, when it comes down to it.
So she stacked up her straw, curled up inside and had a little nap.
Anything you can do I can do better
The second pig saw her from a distance and scoffed. “What a foolish animal that pig is! Look at her sloppy workmanship! I know how to build a proper house. In fact, I’m known to be an expert on such things! I am a hard worker! Just you wait until she sees MY house. The second pig went into the forest and industriously picked up as many sticks as he could find. Several birds came to help, but he shooed them away. “I can do it myself! I don’t need anyone. I’ve got it all under control.” When he finished building his stick house, he smirked. “I’ll definitely be safe in here. No storm will touch me, and no wolf will bother me. My house is safe as safe can be.” And he entered his stick house and proudly looked out at the world, confident in his handiwork.
I shall dwell in the house of God forever
While the first two little pigs were building their houses, the third little pig ran back to the farmyard. He had been very alarmed by the storm and by the nearby howl of the wolf. He knew that the only person on the farm who could guard against the wolf was the Good Farmer. He called out to him, and soon he found him walking down a garden path. He explained what had just happened to him and his friends. He asked the farmer to help him build a shelter so he could enter the woods with confidence, though storms might fall and wolves might prowl.
So they went to a good spot in the woods and the farmer taught him how to build a strong house, made with brick. They enjoyed their time together very much, and after they were done the little pig invited the farmer to come to tea anytime he wanted.
The wolf's plot
Now, who do you suppose was watching while all these things were happening? The BIG BAD WOLF! He watched the little pigs and ran his long tongue along his sharp teeth. “An easy meal,” he growled.
He padded up to the first little pig’s house. “Little pig, little pig! Let me in!” he called. The first little pig snorted and puffed and woke up. “Oh? What? Who’s there?” she yawned. “It’s me, your friend the wolf!” The little pig looked out of her window and saw the wolf - his big ears, his cruel eyes and his sharp teeth. “Ummmm. I’m having a really good nap, Mr. Wolf. Please come back later.” The wolf repeated his demand. “Little pig, little pig, let me in!”
The pig, annoyed by this rudeness - and not believing that he could do anything to actually harm her - declared, “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!”
“Well, then, I will hufff, and pufff, and BLOWWWW your house down!” And the wolf did just that! He huffed, and puffed, and blew, and the straw house disintegrated in front of his eyes!
“You won’t hurt me!” wailed the piggy. “You’re a nice doggy!”
“Just you watch, little piggy,” said the wolf. And he pounced and gobbled up the first little piggy without so much as a “by your leave.”
He was amazed at how easy that was, so he trundled into the forest to the second piggy’s house.
“Little pig, little pig, let me in!” The second pig sneered out of his house. He had worked for hours on his house, and had been constantly upgrading it ever since he started it.
“No way, Mr. Wolf! Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” he yelled out.
"Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll BLOWWW your house donw!” declared the wolf. And he did just that! He huffed, and he puffed, and with a mighty blow the sticks came clattering down.
“But I worked so hard!” squealed the pig. “I don’t deserve this!” And the wolf, laughing, gobbled him up too!
The wolf was feeling very confident. He swaggered off to the third piggy’s house. “Little pig, little pig, LET ME IN!” The third little pig peered out at the wolf and knew that he meant business. But he was confident in the Good Farmer, and trusted that the house they built together was strong.
“No, Mr. Wolf! Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!”
The wolf grinned, “Well, then I’ll just huff and puff and BLOW your house down!” he trumpeted! So he huffed, and he puffed and he blewwwwww. but nothing happened.
“Huh.” said the wolf. He tried again. A few shingles peeled off the top of the roof, and one of the shutters flapped back and forth. “Better give up now, piggy! Let me in!”
“No way! You’re no match for this house! The good farmer built it!” At the mention of the good farmer, the wolf became enraged. “OH YEAH? Just you wait until I bring out the big guns!” And that’s just what he did! He huffed, and he puffed, [and he turned on his leaf blower,] and he let that piggy have it!
The piggy’s house shook, and the shutters flapped, and the shingles shuddered. “I’ll never give up until I get in there, you little piggy!” Yelled the wolf. But as he said this, a figure appeared in the distance. It was the good farmer! He was coming over to have tea with his little pig. Because, as you recall, the piggy had invited him to come any time to his house. At the sight of the Good farmer, the wolf snarled with anger and ran out into the forest, his tail between his legs.
The good farmer knocked politely on the piggy’s door. “Come in!” he said. “You’re just in time. That wolf was about to blow me away, I think!” “You never need to fear that wolf as long as I’m around, little piggy,” said the good farmer. “Now, shall we have a spot of tea?”
1. The first little piggy’s worldview was skewed. She believed that everything would work out on its own, and in fact the world probably had no problems in the end, after all. She believed being nice, and sweet, and kind would be all the protection she’d need. i.e. being nice, or trusting in kindness = building your house from straw.
Proverbs 22:3 "The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it."
2. The second little piggy represents someone who builds their foundation from good works. They follow the Law and feel that their own efforts are enough to keep the darkness at bay. This law could be the law of the land OR the law of God.
Isaiah 64:6 "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."
3. The third little piggy is saved NOT by their brick house, but by having a relationship with the house builder. First off, they wouldn’t have been able to build such a strong house without someone to teach them, but more importantly, the house’s purpose was for the Farmer to dwell in it WITH the piggy, thus guarding them from the evil wolf as well as providing a place for their relationship to grow and thrive and produce life-giving things. Like a lovely tea party. :)
Psalm 127:1 "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain."
Psalm 5:11-12 "Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield."
I counted on the cabin leaders to expand on some of the themes I introduced in the story during chapel, and happily I heard some reports that good discussions were had! I hope I get more chances to practice my storytelling/parable making. It really helped me wrap my own mind around some deeper concepts, and it really put me in the shoes of Jesus, who told parables all the time! He said that he told parables to hide truth from those who weren't looking for it, and reveal truth to those who were. Boy, did I see that last week!
"What was the lesson of the straw hut, young child?"
"Hmmm. The lesson is that you shouldn't build a house out of straw, because it's not sturdy material."
"...Yes.... but what did the straw represent?"
But I guess that's the point of parables! They're not declarations of facts. They're introductions to think deeper about things. Don't worry, I declared some facts during the week too.
I hope you enjoyed reading my copy of the Three Little Pigs story! If you think it's a story about little pigs, and not a story about you, maybe re-read it again? ;)