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Summary: The main ingredient for redeeming the time (or as Paul said, being wise, not fools) is wisdom. This sermon is a challenge and encouragment to receive wisdom from God.


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Thomasville, NC

January 4, 2004

September 10th, 1945 finds a strapping (but tender) five and a half month old Wyandotte rooster pecking through the dust of Fruita, Colorado. The unsuspecting bird had never looked so delicious as he did that, now famous, day. Clara Olsen was planning on featuring the plump chicken in the evening meal. Husband Lloyd Olsen was sent out, on a very routine mission, to prepare the designated fryer for the pan.

Nothing about this task turned out to be routine. Lloyd knew his Mother-in-Law would be dining with them and would savor the neck. He positioned his ax precisely, estimating just the right tolerances, to leave a generous neck bone. "It was as important to Suck-Up to your Mother in Law in the 40’s as it is today." A skillful blow was executed and the chicken staggered around like most freshly terminated poultry.

When Olsen found Mike the next morning, sleeping with his "head" under his wing, he decided that if Mike had that much will to live, he would figure out a way to feed and water him. With an eyedropper Mike was given grain and water. It was becoming obvious that Mike was special. A week into Mike’s new life Olsen packed him up and took him 250 miles to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The skeptical scientists were eager to answer all the questions regarding Mike’s amazing ability to survive with no head. It was determined that ax blade had missed the jugular vein and a clot had prevented Mike from bleeding to death.

Although most of his head was in a jar, most of his brain stem and one ear was [sic] left on

his body. Since most of a chicken’s reflex actions are controlled by the brain stem Mike was able to remain quite healthy.

In the 18 MONTHS that Mike lived as "The Headless Wonder Chicken" he grew from a mere 2 1/2 lbs. to nearly 8 lbs. In a Gayle Meyer interview Olsen said Mike was a "robust chicken - a fine specimen of a chicken except for not having a head." Some longtime Fruita residents, gathered at the Monument Cafe for coffee, also remember Mike - "he was a big fat chicken who didn’t know he didn’t have a head" - "he seemed as happy as any other chicken."

Mike’s excellent state of health made it difficult for animal-rights activists to garner much of a following. Even now the town of Fruita celebrates Mike’s impressive will to live, not the nature of his handicap. Miracle Mike took on a manager, and with the Olsens in tow, set out on a national tour. Curious sideshow patrons in New York, Atlantic City, Los Angeles, and San Diego lined up to pay 25 cents to see Mike.

The "Wonder Chicken" was valued at $10,000.00 and insured for the same. His fame and fortune would earn him recognition in Life and Time Magazines. It goes without saying there was a Guinness World Record in all this.

While returning from one of these road trips the Olsens stopped at a motel in the Arizona desert. In the middle of the night Mike began to choke. Unable to find the eyedropper used to clear Mike’s open esophagus Miracle Mike passed on. Now Mike’s spirit is celebrated the third weekend in May (May 14th & 15th 2004) in Fruita, Colorado. Don’t miss it! [1]

The story of Mike the Headless Chicken is humorous; it is also an annoying reminder that many of us go through life like Mike. There is a bit of a brain stem allowing us to function and run "to and fro" but there is little purpose, little direction from the true head of our lives.

Our text this morning tells us to live carefully, or wisely. This requires redeeming the time, or making the most of opportunities; something which a chicken without a head cannot accomplish! Mike made the most of his situation in just surviving; however that does not describe the life in Christ.

Have you ever heard the old folk saying, "Don’t try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig?" [2] The chief ingredient in redeeming the time is not something related to a good work ethic, although that is not bad. The main requirement for making the best use of our opportunities is wisdom.

Consider the Difference Between Foolishness and Wisdom

No one likes to be called a "fool". However, anything less than wisdom is foolishness. In Ephesians it is "unwise", asophos in Greek, "a" as in opposition, and "sophos," the word for wisdom. Fools are against wisdom. Wisdom is not intellect. Intellect can accumulate knowledge like a computer. Wisdom doesn’t come from knowledge. Wisdom has its basis in a lot higher source:

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