Cattle Drive, Fort Worth Stockyards, April 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What are Ya Feedin' on?

Cattle Drive in Fort Worth Stockyards, April 2010
Awlright, hang on ya'll. I'm onna open up my Texas a lil' bit--which is earthy and not fit for anyone with any sort of a Puritanical strain. When I was growin' up I learned an amazing skill. My grandparents had a farm (which I lived on for a while). My granddad raised cattle and it affected me more deeply than I can say. I love their big ol' brown eyes set in their white faces (we raised polled herefords). The skill I learned had to do with feed and manure. Ya see you can tell what cattle are eating by the smell of their chips. You don't have to pick one up or bend over one of 'em. You can smell it as the breeze passes over the fresh manure.

Some of you may think that's a pretty nasty image, but it never bothered me. The smell of beef cattle just reminds me of home (the smell of dairy cattle is a different matter). If cattle are grazing in pastures, their dung smells one way and if they're being fattened up for market (being fed grain and such at the feeding pen) it smells another. It's actually sweeter if their feeding on grain or alfalfa from the barn, which we used to supplement.

There's an old Texas expression (I suppose other's use it too) that, "Your poop smells too." Usually the saying is a little more direct, but you get the point. So… how's your poop smell? Chances are it has a lot to do with what you're eatin'. If your eatin' consistently at the altar of God, digesting his Word in the Scriptures and chewing it like an ol' bull chews his cud, and dining on the sweetness of prayer then your poo probably is of the sweeter variety. If you sit at the table with gossip, self-sufficiency, judgmentalism,  believing you're fine where ya are… well, I'll bet your manure smells pretty bad.

Trouble is that its pretty darned hard to smell your own while your making it, and the same thing is true of our Christian lives. Unless we try to take time to look at our lives seriously we'll be largely unaware of the smells we leave by our sins and shortcomings until someone points it out to us. But just like raisin' cattle, the focus isn't what's in the draft, it's the feed. So ask yourself. What are you feedin' on? Are you leaving a trail the gives glory to God or one that smells to high heaven? And after you figure that out, maybe you'll need to adjust your feed.

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