Chew your food.
That’s what my mother used to say.
When I was growing up it seemed liked eating fast was a necessity. Being the youngest of three boys, and at the bottom of the food chain, if you didn’t eat fast you just sometimes didn’t eat. Or at least that’s the way it seemed.
Eating fast was something I did so that I could get to what I really wanted to do. Somehow I knew I had to eat, but as a pre-adolescent there was something about sitting and eating that felt more like an inconvenience. It got in the way of playing and having fun and doing what I really wanted to do.
What I’ve noticed now is that eating fast is often a way of living life. I know the importance of chewing my food, how it helps my digestive system, and leads to a better level of comfort through the day. But what I know doesn’t seem to impact what I do. I still like to eat fast.
I’d like to a pose a thought, maybe something worth considering. It’s about eating slowly. Well, not really eating per se, but spiritually digesting the things that matter.
It seems that what could be said about eating, could also be said about our life in Jesus—what we know doesn’t seem to impact what we do.
What I mean is, for many of us we know that spending time with Jesus is valuable. We know that if we are going to “eat this bread” (John 6) that its going to take time, that its going to take time cutting off a piece, chewing it well and then letting it nourish us. We know that if we are to remain in him so that he will remain in us (John 15) then we are going to have to stop doing other things. Abiding isn’t just pausing. It’s coming to a full stop. It’s staying for a while.
So let’s come back to the question. Why is it that we don’t seem to do what we really know is good for us?
Why don’t we slow down? Why is our spiritual life so often like everything else in our life? Fast. Hurried. Busy.
Why are we willing to let our spiritual life survive on fast food (think tweets, or devotionals that take just a few minutes, or even blogs like this one).
There is only on remedy for depth in the modern world.
And that comes with eating slowly.
Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I remain in you” (John 15:4).
Remain. Abide. Pause. Stay awhile. Settle in. Chew slowly. Go a little deeper.
These are the things that matter. These are the things that create depth.
These are the things that Jesus invites us into.
Maybe this summer we need to slow down.
And eat a little more slowly.