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South Texas Living


Chewing the cud




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On the Road to Forever
June 26, 2013 | 2,041 views | Post a comment

Painters and poets have long appreciated the picture of peace and contentment conveyed by a cow lying in a pasture, chewing its cud. Time seems to stand still for these carefree creatures as they tranquilly chew and rechew the food they’ve previously consumed. Why do cows spend so much time chewing their cud? And just what is a “cud,” anyway? When a cow grazes in a pasture it fills its first stomach (yes, cows have more than one) with grass and other food. Then it settles down in a quiet place and brings up that quickly swallowed food so it can chew it more thoroughly and prepare it for digestion. This regurgitated food is the “cud.”

For the past few months the fast pace of the NBA Finals has had many folks on the edge of their seats in anticipation of “bringing home” the championship trophy, especially, in the case of my local supporters of the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately, only one team can claim the trophy, which means the other has to go home empty-handed. In today’s social setting “Everybody’s a winner” and “It’s not who wins or loses, it’s how you play the game,” are only bandages on mental battle wounds of players. I imagine the team is sitting in a quiet place somewhere, replaying the whole championship series in an attempt to make sense of their loss, befriending one another as they “chew their cud,” so to speak. This may be a good place to discuss the “ABC’s of Friendship.”

A friend: Accepts you as you are, Believes in you and Calls you, just to say “Hi.” A friend: Doesn’t give up on you, Envisions the whole of you and Forgives your mistakes. A friend: Gives unconditionally, Helps you and Invites you over, Just to be with you. A friend: Keeps you close at heart, Loves you for who you are and Makes a difference in your life. A friend: Never judges, Offers support and Picks you up. A friend: Quiets your fears, Raises your spirits and Says nice things about you. A friend: Tells you the truth when you need to hear it, Understands you and Values you. A friend: Walks beside you, X-plains things you don’t understand and Yells when you don’t listen. A friend: Zaps you back to reality. Ideally, a friend will take time to sit and quietly chew the cud with you.

[John 15:19-17; 1 Corinthians 13] “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) “A friend loves at all times ...” (Proverbs 17:17) As Jesus taught the twelve he called them his friends, because he was teaching them, in love, the very depths of God’s thoughts and will for mankind. Paul writes: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails.”

My friends, here is some food for thought. When we approach the Word of God to feast upon its nourishing contents, we should fill ourselves with its goodness and then find a quiet place to “bring it back up” and “chew on it” for awhile, some serious personal meditation. We need to find ways to incorporate God’s will into our life and live as God intended us to live. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” I want to be a friend of God, because too often, only He can pick me up.

Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at twbonham@hotmail.com. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.
 

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