THE LETTER TO THE TURKEYS
Sammy the Skunk walked as fast as he could toward Turkey Valley. A few hours after leaving the Great Oak, he came upon a doe that was drinking some water from a spring not far from the path. “Hello, Miss Doe!” Sammy said with a smile on his face. “How is everything this fine evening?”
At first, the doe seemed a little frightened. “Is this skunk going to spray me with stinkiness?” she wondered to herself. However, as Sammy kept smiling at her with his tail down, she realized that he was not there to spray her, but was just being polite. She then smiled and said, “Things are wonderful, Mr. Skunk. This water is very refreshing. Would you like a drink? My name is Deborah Deer. Please forgive me for the look of fear on my face when I first saw you. Two years ago my mother got sprayed by a skunk, and it took ten tomato-juice baths to get the smell off of her! Ever since then, quite honestly, I’ve been a bit afraid of skunks.”
“I completely understand,” Sammy replied warmly. “My name is Sammy the Skunk. Don’t worry, Deborah, I am definitely not going to spray you! Though I am the chief of sinners and have been full of stinky things from my youth, the Lord Jesus has had great mercy on me. Lately, He has been teaching me a lot about the importance of not stinking up a room through a lack of self-control. He has shown me that far stinkier than the spray under my tail, is the rotten fruit of a complaining attitude or hurtful words.”
When Deborah the Deer heard this, a tear came to her eyes as she remembered some harsh words she had spoken to her mother earlier that day. She then looked at Sammy and said, “Thank you, Sammy, for passing by this way on your journey. You don’t realize this, but the Lord just used you to remind me that I need to go and ask my mother for forgiveness. I said some very unkind things to her this morning, and I need to repent. Boy, when the Lord disciplines us, it is never easy! But I know that it always leads to freedom and love in the end. Thank you, Sammy.”
Then with a smile on her face, Deborah looked at Sammy and pointed him toward the spring with her nose. Sammy went over to the spring and took a deep drink. When he finished drinking, he said goodbye to Deborah Deer and continued on his journey.
As Sammy continued walking, he remembered a time four years earlier when God had spoken a strong word of discipline to him. At the time, Sammy had just read a new book about how to fly kites. His younger sister Susie did not know how to read yet, and so she didn’t have the same knowledge as her brother. Then one day Sammy and Susie went to the lake and took their kites with them. Because Sammy had read that book about how to fly kites, he was able to fly his kite at the lake without any problem. Susie, on the other hand, still didn’t know how to fly a kite, and so she asked her brother to show her how. However, Sammy had pride and sin in his heart and refused to help her. Sammy liked being seen as special because of what he knew, and if he taught Sally how to fly a kite, then how could he continue being seen as the special knower? Thus, instead of using what he knew to love his sister, Sammy ended up using his knowledge to hurt her. That day at the lake, Susie cried and cried as Sammy’s kite soared high in the sky, while hers never even left the ground. Later that night, the Holy Spirit came to Sammy with a strong word of discipline about how wickedly he had treated his sister earlier that day. He told Sammy to repent, because love is the only thing that is going to count in His coming kingdom. When the Holy Spirit spoke this to Sammy, he wept and wept, and then went and asked his sister to forgive him. Then the next day, Sammy took Susie back to the lake and showed her how to fly a kite.
As Sammy remembered how much freedom God had brought to his own life through the fire of discipline, he prayed for the turkeys, that God would also open their hearts to the message in the envelope. Just like Deborah, Sammy also knew how hard it could be sometimes to receive a word of discipline. However, he also knew that, in the end, God’s discipline always produces good and lasting fruit.
After walking all night long and most of the next morning, Sammy finally drew near to his destination about noon the next day. As Sammy approached the entrance into Turkey Valley, he began to hear the sound of turkey-gobbling echoing throughout the Valley. Sounds of “gobble gobble gobble gobble!” were bouncing around everywhere! In fact, there was so much gobbling going on that Sammy could hardly think straight or make any sense of what the turkeys were actually trying to say.
Sammy stepped into Turkey Valley and immediately noticed that it was a very busy place. Straight ahead he saw hundreds of gobbling turkeys scrambling about their business. In that direction he also saw two large buildings. One was a library called the “Gobble-Gobble Library of Turkey Valley,” and the other was a building called the “Turkey Talkie-Talkie Society.” These were the most influential schools in all the Western Woods. Going in and out of the library were scores of turkeys carrying tall stacks of books with fancy-sounding titles written on them.
When Sammy turned his head to the right, he saw some older turkey professors standing near big dry-erase boards and gobbling at the younger student turkeys that were sitting in front of them with their laptops open. He also noticed that as the professors gobbled on and on, they kept using many big, fancy words that he didn’t understand. And though it seemed that the young student turkeys didn’t understand most of what their teachers were gobbling about either, nevertheless they still seemed impressed by the fancy talk of their teachers and were gobbling up every word. Gobbling professors in front of blackboards, speaking words that sounded like gobbly-gook to their listeners, all made for a rather humorous scene, and Sammy chuckled to himself. It reminded him of the story of the Tower of Babel.
However, Sammy’s chuckling quickly turned into shock. When he looked to the left, his eyes fell on a group of six very smart-looking turkeys that were jumping up and down on a large Bible as though it were a trampoline! As they continued jumping, they started to peck and peck and peck away at the Book with their beaks, and tear and tear and tear away at it with their claws. As these turkeys kept jumping and pecking and tearing, the Bible was trampled to pieces. As the pages tore and fell apart, these turkeys didn’t even seem to care that they were treating God’s Holy Scriptures like garbage. When Sammy saw these turkeys doing this, tears came into his eyes. Sammy knew that the Bible was precious to God, and it hurt this skunk deeply to see these turkeys treating His Word with such pride. The Bible was the lamp that had guided Sammy’s path from his youth. It was a treasure, a precious pearl of greatest price, a feast of truth that God had entrusted to His family as a gift. And now, instead of handling the Scriptures as faithful, God-fearing stewards, here were these turkeys showing themselves unworthy of such a trust. “These turkeys may look and sound smart,” Sammy thought to himself, “but they sure are acting foolishly. Do they not know the Lord Jesus will hold them accountable for this?” He then began to pray that God would have mercy on these wayward turkeys, just as God had shown mercy to him.
As Sammy the Skunk was praying, suddenly a loud bell sounded from the Turkey Talkie-Talkie Society building. Then immediately after the bell a nasally turkey voice began to gobble something out from a loudspeaker. “Gobble-gobble, gobble-gobble, attention, attention, all members of the Turkey Talkie-Talkie Society,” the voice began. “In five minutes, we will be gathering in the lecture hall of the Gobble-Gobble Library to begin gobbling about the issue of contemporary hermeneutics from a turkeological perspective. Please be prompt, and once again, please remember that Turkish coffee and water are the only beverages allowed on the premises.”
“Herme-what?” Sammy the Skunk wondered to himself after hearing the announcement. “Maybe they were trying to say ‘The hermit is new to ticks.’ But that doesn’t make any sense!” Then Sammy came up with a plan. “Hey,” he thought to himself, “that meeting would be a perfect place to share Jesus’ letter to the turkeys!” And so Sammy scurried straight ahead toward the library and joined the parade of about five hundred turkeys that was making its way into the building.
When the turkeys and Sammy had all gathered in the lecture hall, a very tall turkey wearing small glasses and dressed in a black suit stood up and talked. “Gobble-gobble, gobble-gobble, today, young scholars, we have gathered to discuss…”
“Excuse me, excuse me, Mr. Turkey Scholar sir,” a voice interrupted cheerfully. “My name is Sammy the Skunk, and Jesus has sent me here with a very important letter to read to all you turkeys.”
When Sammy said this, a gobbling uproar broke out all over the lecture hall. Then someone in the crowd cried out, “Skunk! Skunk! A stinky skunk! Everyone, cover your noses!” At that, all of the turkeys quickly put their feathers over their beaks.
Then one of the turkeys spoke to Sammy. “Excuse me, umm, Mr. Skunk, sir. I’m not quite sure how you made it into the library, seeing, well, that you are not a turkey. Are you a visiting scholar skunk?”
“Actually, sir, to be honest, I don’t know very many fancy words, but I do love the Bible. The words of that Book are life to me.”
Then one of the turkeys that Sammy had seen trampling the Bible earlier cocked his head back and snubbed his beak at Sammy. “Hmph,” the turkey gobbled. “I can see that you are one of those simple believers with a simple trust who read the Bible in a simple way.” He then looked at Sammy with a look of pity, began to shake his head, and said, “Poor, poor, poor, simple skunk.” Then the turkey’s face suddenly brightened. “As for me,” the turkey continued, now with a proud smile, “I left such simple ways behind many years ago after I heard a famous speech by Dr. Gilbert Gobbly about how to stretch words so far that they no longer mean what they mean. Three Ph.D.’s and two Th.D.’s later, I have now won the admiration of all the turkey gobblers in my field.”
“That…that’s nice,” Sammy replied shyly, not understanding most of what the turkey had just said.
Then in a fancy-sounding voice another turkey gobbled to Sammy, “Gobble-gobble, gobble-gobble, I say, dear skunk, I say, did I hear you say that Jesus gave you a message to give to us? My dear skunk fellow, have you not read my recent book? Have you not read my articles? Clearly you are mistaken, young skunk, and clearly deficient in your understanding. God stopped speaking many years ago. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that healings, miracles, and prophecy are things of the past? It’s right there in the Greek.”
This made Sammy upset. “Sir, I don’t speak Greek, but I know my Bible, and what you just said is not true,” Sammy replied boldly. “I also know full well that two years ago, God healed my Grandma Sarah Skunk and raised her up from a wheelchair. It was a great miracle, and many skunks in my neighborhood turned to the Lord.”
This made the turkey angry. “Gobble-gobble, gobble-gobble, how dare you lecture me, little skunk!” the turkey said with irritation and pride in his voice. “You’ve never studied a Greek grammar in your life. Do you not know that my research is fully supported and endorsed by the Fancy Footnote Foundation?”
Before Sammy could respond, another turkey jumped in. “Come now, dear turkeys,” this turkey said with more warmth and humility in his voice. “I admire this skunk and his willingness to present his ideas. What if he is predestined to be here? Let’s give him a chance to share his letter, and then we can begin our discussion.” When he said this, all the other turkeys quieted down.
Then Sammy pulled out his letter and opened it. When he did so, the Holy Spirit came upon him and he began to read the letter boldly:
First, I want to say that I love you very much. And it is for that very reason that I, Jesus, have a few things I must tell you. I am the One who created all of you turkeys. It is I who gave you minds for thinking and pens for writing. However, instead of using the things I have given you to love others and build up My Body, you are using fancy words and the things you know to get praise from one another. You are not even thinking about what I will say to you when you stand before Me at My return. Do you not know that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up? Also, because you are afraid of losing your friends, your reputation, and your position, you turkeys write books that make each other happy but do not agree with My truth. How can you expect to receive praise from Me at My return, if you are seeking praise from one another now? Now, as to those in your midst who are trampling My Word and causing many of My young ones to stumble in unbelief, I say this: repent while there is still time.
O turkeys, the days are growing short, and soon I will come down from the sky with My Father’s angels in great power. I will set up My kingdom from Jerusalem and judge every heart. You are not yet ready for that Day. However, I am not giving up on you, dear turkeys! And because of that, I must discipline you to get you on the narrow path and prepare you to rule faithfully at My side in My coming kingdom. In but a few days, I am going to send fire to the Western Woods, and in a moment your pride will be burned up in the flames. When this happens, flee to the Great Oak. There you will find healing and truth for the days ahead.
When Sammy finished reading the letter, gobbling broke out all over the lecture hall, and many of the turkeys became angry. Then one turkey shouted, “This message stinks! Get that stinky skunk and his smelly message out of here!”
Then another turkey said, “The Day of the Lord? This skunk is nothing but a simpleton! Does he not know that those texts are nothing but apocalyptic genre?”
“Apoca-what?” Sammy wondered to himself, having no idea what the turkey was trying to say.
“And not only that,” another turkey chimed in angrily, “does this stinky skunk not know that such punishments and discipline from God belong to another dispensation? The God of the New Testament would never do such a mean thing as sending fire to the woods!”
“Another dispen-what?” Sammy thought to himself, still failing to understand the gobbling. He had never heard the word “dispensation” before, though he did think it sounded sensationally fancy.
“And do you mean to tell me, Mr. Skunk,” another turkey shouted at Sammy, “that Jesus is actually going to set up His kingdom on the earth and base it from the actual city of Jerusalem in the actual land of Israel? Surely you don’t take those prophecies literally, do you? Bosh. Let me say it again—Bosh! Such thinking is simply too Jewish and simply too simple.”
Finally, when the turkeys had all finished venting and gobbling out all these big words at Sammy, the turkey who was wearing the small glasses and dressed in a black suit stood up again and spoke. “Umm, thank you, Mr. Skunk, for such an…such an…let me say, interesting, even if simple, point of view. Now, if you don’t mind, please be on your way. We turkeys have some serious matters to discuss today.”
At that, one of the turkeys walked Sammy the Skunk to the door of the library. As he walked out of the building, Sammy prayed, “Father, just as You have had great mercy on me, the smelliest of skunks, have mercy on these turkeys whom You love. Prepare them to walk with Jesus dressed in white in His coming kingdom.” Then shaking the dust off his feet, Sammy the Skunk began the journey back to the Great Oak.