Had we not just finished a huge lunch at Tejano’s, the local Mexican restaurant, sitting on the drive listening to the cows eructate might not have been so funny. As my young helper Beau and I were just gearing up to do some more fencing, he asked, “Why do cows lay around and chew so much?” A valid question I thought. My response, “They’re chewing their cud. It’s their way of meditating with God.”
He laughed as he responded, “How can sitting around burping be spiritual?” I smiled, realizing that afternoon’s work was going to be delayed.
Beau is a great young man; and always willing to help me out around the Cross-Dubya. Growing up in the city (8,000 folks is a fair-sized city in these parts), he doesn’t have a lot of inherent knowledge of livestock. Intelligent and willing to learn, my investment in teaching him will pay great dividends in his future.
I removed my gloves and asked “Do you know why cattle are called ruminants?”
He responded, “They eat grass and hay.”
“Good guess, but not all hooved animals that eat grass are ruminant animals. For example, horses have hooves and eat grass and hay just like cows, but they’re not ruminants.” Giving me a confused look, I explained to him, “More than being even-hooved grass eaters; a ruminant animal is defined by how they digest their food.” I then explained how cattle, deer, antelope, sheep, and other ruminants have a complex, multi-compartmented stomach. This allows them to get the maximum possible nutrition from the grass. I further explained the importance of eructation and the cud-chewing process for those animals.
Beau nodded his understanding; and I knew it was time for the spiritual lesson. “Take Yolanda there Beau. You see how she’s moving her mouth back and forth?”
“Sure. She’s chewing her cud!” He smiled
“That’s right, but have you ever wondered what else is going on beyond chewing that fibrous, old, partially digested grass?” That brought another quizzical look from my young friend; and I went on with the lesson.
“Have you ever considered that God made ruminant animals to teach us how to study His word buddy?”
With that funny look he gets when searching for an answer; he responds, “Do you mean we should take a long time to digest it?”; asking as much as answering.
I shout “Bingo!” and Beau smiles. Thinking to myself He’s getting it; and that brings a smile of my own. I went on to explain that meditation is the best way I know to get the most out of God’s word. Most of us will read a referenced scripture in a devotional and move on. Few actually open their Bible each day to read the word of God. Even fewer, then take the next step to search for deeper understanding.
Beau asks; “How do we do that?”
“That’s exactly the right question to ask Beau-man.” Smiling, I shared one of my favorite verses from the Bible. “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:11, NKJV)
I explained that what this means to me is I can’t know all that God knows. I can’t understand how God thinks, or why God does what He does. Beau responded with, “Like Isaiah 55, eight and nine?”
Nodding my head, I was proud to see my young friend had learned from lessons in the past. “Exactly Beau. That’s why God’s word is so amazing. In all the years I’ve been reading and studying it, I’ve read the same passage (in some cases) hundreds of times. The remarkable thing is that I’m always finding something new in it. God’s word is like a never-ending story, in that the Holy Spirit reveals more about it the more time you spend in it.”
“So, as we’re sitting here watching the cows chew their cud, maybe their laying there contemplating life. Or perhaps, and we can’t know what a cow is thinking any more than we can know what our wife or girlfriend is, they’re meditating on God. After all, He’s their Creator also.” I watched his reaction to see if my young friend understood what I was trying to share.
Showing a genuine interest, Beau asks; “How do you do that? How do you meditate?” Another great question. I paused before answering; not because I didn’t have an answer, but because I wanted to silently ask God to guide me in what I was about to share.
“Meditation takes many different forms; you have to try different things until you find what best works for you. For me, there’s several ways. It’s just like eating a meal; the two keys are preparation and digestion. It’s what you do before and after the meal that matters.”Meditating on God’s word allows you to gain the maximum spiritual nutrition from it. Click To Tweet
I posed this question; “If you fill up on junk food and snacks before supper, you won’t each as much will you?” With his negative response, I suggested that the best way to ingest God’s word is to be hungry for it. I explained, “If you wait to read the Bible until after you’ve checked your social media pages, read the newspaper, or watched the morning news, you’ve already started filling your heart and mind with worldly things. With all the negative junk that pollutes our souls.” So I make reading God’s word one of my top priorities each morning.”
“After coffee, right?”; he added with a smile. I laughed as my helper has showed up at 7:00 AM to find me with a cup of coffee in hand as I step outside to start our workday.
“The next thing I do before studying God’s word is to pray for His help to understand it; and for the Holy Spirit to show me what I’m supposed to learn from it.”
Beau enthusiastically added, “Like Paul said in First Corinthians?”
“Right… ”, I said with a smile. I explained that once I’ve prepared myself to study God’s word, I set my plate at the altar of God; asking Him to fill it with what I need that day. I added that I never know what I need exactly, but I’m learning to trust God to give me what I need.
My buddy then asks, “So where does the meditating part come in? When do you chew on God’s word?”
“Well”, I respond, “that’s the digestion part of meditation. After we feast on God’s word, we may be full, but we don’t get the greatest value from it until after we digest it.” I likened it back to the cattle. They initially eat, but then it takes up to three days for the food to pass through their digestive system. During this time, they’ll chew their cud several times to continue breaking down the material so more nutrients are released into their body.
I described some of the ways I meditate on God’s word throughout the day, and sometimes weeks or months, until I’ve gotten the maximum amount of goodness from it I can get. Some of those ways are prayer, further study and research, or simply making quiet time to let the Holy Spirit speak to my heart while I think about what I’ve read. Patting my young friend’s knee, I told him “We should remember that the more we transmit, the less we can receive.” My goal was to remind him how important listening is to learning.
As my largest Hereford, Ms. Lynn, released a loud belch, Beau chimed “That must’ve been a good lesson!” We laughed as I started the UTV. It was time to get that fencing done. As we drove along the fence line, I silently prayed that God would bless the time I spent with this young man and He would help him learn to better digest God’s word in his life.It never ceases to amaze me how God can teach us valuable life lessons using the most mundane things found in His world; even a cow’s digestive process. Click To Tweet
I pray you ask God to show you how to get more from His word each day.
Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.