Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Playful Pig and His Contemptuous Carelessness


Andy the Pig was cute, especially when he played with his big purple ball. He was smarter than I expected, too. Andy quickly learned a few skills that I wished he hadn't.

Before he arrived, my brother-in-law and nephew helped me build an automatic feeder from PVC pipe and a pan. Our construction team had to work fast because Andy was already on his way to the farm. In the interest of speed, we used baling string to secure the feeder to the 4x4 post. 

Yeah. I know. Bad idea.

In our defense, it looked good at the time. 

The PVC pipe had an open top for me to pour feed through and a cut-out at the bottom for the feed to fall into the pan. If the pipe was secure against the pan, the feed came out as the pig ate it, in a slow but steady stream.

Andy soon learned that he could fit his snout into the feed slot, lift up his head, and flip the pipe off the pan. Of course, all the feed (two days' worth) fell into the pan at once. 

As soon as Andy had the pipe off the pan, he learned to flip the pan out from under the pipe and use it like a frisbee. He tossed the pan all around his stall. Needless to say, he ran through a serious amount of pig feed in a very short time.

Nothing I did helped. He practiced his little trick every day. It was, apparently, great fun. 

The problem, however, was that Andy needed the nourishment of the feed to grow. Without it, he'd be hungry. Without it, he'd grow weak, lose weight, and die.

Andy treated the nourishment provided for him with casual contempt, as if there was an everlasting supply. 

When I looked in his stall and saw feed scattered in the mud, trampled by the feet of that pig, I did not have warm and fuzzy feelings from him. 

This morning, I opened my Bible, looking for spiritual nourishment, and wondered if I sometimes treat my spiritual food with the same contempt Andy showed for the feed I provided him. 

God's provided a steady supply of nourishment for our souls with His Word, as well as with godly teachers and helpful study aids. Our job is to ingest the word of God and allow it to nourish our souls, so that we can grow strong as disciples of Christ. 

In our resource-rich Christian culture, we should be the most rapidly growing, deeply muscled believers in the world. I'm afraid, however, we're more like Andy than we want to admit. Because there's so much available to us, we're careless with even what we need to survive, much less grow. 

In some places of the world, a single book of the Bible is treated as precious beyond words. It's cherished and protected. Studied and shared. It's used to grow strong, deeply muscled believers who use what they learn to follow our Lord the way He intended.

How many Bibles gather dust in our houses?

I wanted Andy to eat his food, not trample it under foot, so I cut off his supply of feed completely for most of a day. I let him get hungry enough to eat the food provided for him, rather than play with it. When his piggy stomach was grumbling again, I gave him enough food to satisfy his hunger, but not enough for careless contempt. 

He ate. 

Just as Andy's hunger drove him to ingest the food provided for him, there are times when God allows leanness into our lives so that our spiritual hunger will drive us back to Him and to His Word.  

Let's pause for a moment and consider how we treat the spiritual food God has provided for us. Do we treat it with careless contempt or does our hunger for God drive us to take in all He gives? Are we growing and strong, or does our carelessness leave us weak and ineffective.

The purpose of pig food is to grow a strong, well-muscled, healthy pig. The purpose of Soul-nourishment is much the same: to grow strong, well-muscled, healthy disciples. 

The banquet is spread. Let's step up to the table and partake of the bounty God has given. Let's open our Bibles. Do more than a causal glance at a single verse. Study the Word. Ingest it until it becomes a part of us and changes us in ways even the world can recognize.

"Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee." Psalm 119:11
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