Thursday, January 30, 2014


This Biblical shepherd of some forty years has been learning a lot about "ruminants" in retirement.  Four years ago I had never heard the word and now there are eleven of them grazing in our pasture.  Ruminants are cud chewing animals.  While there is much to learn about cows, I have learned they have four stomachs and spend a good portion of their day chewing their cud.  Like a lot of folks, cows eat in a hurry, do not really chew their food, but swallow it down.  Unlike humans, cows later burp it up and sit down somewhere and chew on it for an hour or so.  Then they swallow it again for its journey to another stomach where it is converted into nutrients and energy.  With a different schedule to follow, I have become a "cow watcher" and from them I have learned more than just a few lessons.

While watching them peacefully chewing their cuds the other day, I suddenly realized I was looking at a picture of meditation.  The scripture constantly tells us to meditate on the Word.  There is a difference in reading and meditating.  Reading is calling words.  Meditating is ingesting the words and then chewing on them.  Meditating involves going over the words repeatedly, slowly with thoughtful deliberation.  Meditating is taking in the Word, chewing on it for a time, and then letting it become a source of spiritual strength and energy.  Those cows have it figured out.  They take their time chewing on their cuds.  Most of us are in far too big a hurry when reading and meditating on the Word. 

Try chewing on the Word next time the Bible is opened.  Forget what needs to be done next.  Sit down quietly and slowly chew on it awhile so that it can truly be a source of spiritual sustenance.  Meditate.  Ruminate.  Chew on it.   Learn from the cows.  They never hurry.   They just chew and chew and chew.  All of us could do with more chewing on the Word. 

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