Don’t Kill the Goose


“One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich, he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find…nothing.  Thanks to his own greed, he killed the one thing that made him rich.”

This fable, though written centuries ago, has been passed down because of how much it relates to our human nature.  Can you imagine the excitement of the countryman as he realizes the amount of profit he could make off of this one goose? Even better was the fact that the goose required no special diet or care.  We’re not told what gave him the idea of killing the goose, but I imagine that he didn’t want to wait for the next batch of eggs.  Instead of taking care of the goose for a few more weeks to get more eggs, he thought it would be much better to get all of the eggs stored up inside of that goose.  The countryman learned a hard lesson: you can’t have the golden eggs unless you take care of the goose!

I feel like there are many wonderful gifts God has given me that have enriched me with many “golden eggs”.  To start, I’m married with a beautiful, godly lady that constantly amazes me with her selflessness.  I have a daughter who constantly dazzles me with her cuteness.  I’m a rich man because I serve on staff under the leadership of a pastor who has no problem trusting me and equipping me in ways that many people don’t experience in the ministry.  I’m rich because God has given me a measure of health that allows me to pursue any goal that I want, never having to worry about a defective heart, disability or disease.

Despite all of the riches with which God has blessed me, I find in myself the tendency to take advantage of those blessings because of my own greed.  I find myself killing “the goose” in order to extract more of the golden eggs.  As a husband, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve relied upon selfless service of my wife, expecting her to do far more than is reasonable while I sit, relax, and do nothing.  It’s no surprise that the “golden eggs” of a marriage, like a harmonious and joyful companionship, cease when one partner in the marriage stops serving the other.  How ironic that I sacrifice the potential for maintained harmony in my marriage for a short-term gain of not working a little to invest in my marriage.

As much as I love the cute baby phase of my daughter, I doubt that I would be alone in looking forward to the golden egg moments when I can enjoy the blessing of hearing her say “I love you Daddy” or coming to me when she needs help with an issue in her life.  I’m no parenting expert, but as a former kid, I realize that those moments don’t come unless Daddy invests back into the relationship in some way.  It’s unreasonable to think that a child would share their heart with someone who doesn’t go out of their way to spend quantity time with their children: in fact, it’s about as unreasonable as…killing a goose to get the gold inside.

Wouldn’t you say that working for a great employer is a rich blessing? I love the opportunity to work for a pastor who doesn’t micromanage, who adequately equips me to do my job and support my family, and, most of all, who gives me liberty to think outside-the-box.  I’m not the only one blessed with this type of employer-many of you are, as well.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there who have greedily taken advantage of good-natured employers and spoiled the opportunity to enjoy the golden eggs of that work environment long-term.  Their own laziness forced their boss to have to check in more, or their lack of responsibility robbed them of the opportunity to steward greater resources.

If there’s any goose in our lives that has the most potential for producing golden eggs, it would arguably be our own health.  If not for good health, I would be limited to what job I could have, in what ways I could play with my children, and possibly even limit my own life span.  Yet, I’ve had to evaluate my lifestyle over and over again to see if I’m slowly killing that goose through poor exercise, eating, or rest habits.

It’s easy get so caught up in receiving the golden eggs that you forget to take care of the goose that produced them. Nurture the relationship that gives you the greatest blessing, take care of the employee that produces for your company, and maintain the health of a body will produce for years to come.  Taking care of an egg-producing goose is a whole lot better than living life without the golden eggs.

The worst thing about a dead goose is you don’t usually get a second chance to take care of it.  Don’t kill the goose!


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