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If Someone Gives You a Chicken


Six Lobi proverbs provide some perspective.


If Someone Gives You a Chicken...

by Clint Morgan


In March 2011, I was appointed to the position of interim general director of Free Will Baptist International Missions.

Each day, I go to the Scriptures and seek direction for the tasks ahead of me. I especially love the book of Proverbs. The wisdom oozes off the pages as succinct insights and practical principles guide us in daily living.

My wife Lynette and I spent more than 25 years in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, working among the Lobi people. One thing I really enjoyed about life among the Lobis was their use of proverbs. Quite often, as I study the Bible, an African proverb pops into my head, and I find myself seeing how it fits my new ministry. Six Lobi proverbs seem particularly appropriate:


"If the head is around, don’t put your hat on your knee.”

We all have someone in authority over us, and it is unwise to usurp the authority (hat) of a superior (the head). This is fairly easy to acknowledge, but not always easy to implement. I work for the International Missions Board, and they answer to the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Ultimately, we all answer to God. That alone pushes me to say I better leave “the hat on the Head.”


“Wherever a snail goes, he takes his shell with him.”

As I come to this new task, I come as I am. I cannot shed myself of the reality of me. Certainly, we all make cultural adaptations—no matter where we are or what role we are playing. We all should strive to ensure that our “shell” is formed by the leadership of God’s Spirit and will resist the attacks of the evil one.

“Don’t point at your home with your left hand.”

In Africa, the left hand is considered dirty. In the village, you never hand someone an object with your left hand. It is like a curse of sorts. To point at your home with your left hand is tantamount to putting a curse on your ancestry, your place of birth, and your family.

International Missions has a warm, rich heritage. Each general director has left a remarkable legacy. As I endeavor to lead the Mission forward, I must do so without blasting the past. We must appreciate all that has been done and build upon it. I will not be guilty of pointing at my home (my International Missions heritage) with my left hand.


“If someone gives you a chicken, don’t ask how much it weighs.”

Often, we are given a task (a chicken) without really knowing its demands or future value (its weight). We should take what is given to us by God and wait on Him to tell us how to use it for the expansion of His Kingdom and, ultimately, for His glory. I really have no idea what the demands or future value of my new role will be. I will take it and not ask God how much it weighs.


“A bee doesn’t start its hive with honey.”

If IM is to flourish, we must have the support of the people in the pews, pastors, state leaders, and other denominational leaders. We might be tempted to think that because we are about world evangelism (the honey) people will eagerly and willingly provide the resources for our efforts. However, we know if we do not have good relationships with our people (the hive), they will not readily support our efforts.
One of my primary objectives as interim general director is to build strong relationships with our Free Will Baptist constituency.


“You can’t spit and swallow at the same time.”

We all know there are moments when humans simply do not agree. When we disagree, emotions sometimes control our words (spit). When tempers flare, the ability to exchange ideas or receive counsel (swallow) is greatly diminished or even non-existent. It is my prayer that I will not spit, and that I will be willing to swallow, for I do know I cannot do both at the same time.

Biblical proverbs address many of these same thoughts and issues. My use of these African proverbs does not in any way imply they are superior to the biblical proverbs. But they are a part of my shell, and God is using them to help me as I lead the Mission through this transition.

About the Writer: Clint Morgan began serving as interim general director on February 10, 2011. He and his wife Lynette have worked in Africa, Central Asia, and France. Learn more about Free Will Baptist International Missions at



©2011 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists