By Sandra Sheridan
Philippians 4:8 “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
It’s county fair time! Though we are not showcasing any animals this year, I still feel the pull to get out in the barn and start washing, trimming, and preparing livestock for this big week. It is a memory that will always come to mind the first of August.
As I think about all the effort we put into the care of our animals I am always amazed at the attention to details. While learning to care for lambs, Gabby Devoe, our go-to expert on sheep, came and gave us some pointers. He painstakingly measured out the appropriate amount of feed for each lamb, marking the measuring can so we would be sure to get the right amount every day. He instructed us that the correct food and the correct portions along with regular exercise were needed to make sure the lambs were fit and healthy. We followed the regimen carefully and were rewarded with well-muscled and flourishing animals.
What a tragedy that we often husband and feed our animals better than we do ourselves. Americans are infamous for our intake of sugary treats and junk food, which is often our main source of physical nourishment. We are known throughout the world for being obese and ignoring our bodies’ physical needs. This treatment leads to all sorts of physical problems.
Not only do we feed our physical bodies with unhealthy choices, but we also ignore the atrocities with which we fill our minds. We have become oblivious to the violence, degrading jokes, hatred, and foul language that infiltrate most of our entertainment. We readily consume it, never realizing what it is doing to our minds, our view of society, and our feelings about others and ourselves.
If we were to feed our sheep with all the leftovers from our table instead of a healthy portion of their appropriate feed, we would be left with fat and unhealthy animals. They would bulge in all the wrong places. They would most likely be sick, and they certainly wouldn’t win first place at the fair.
When we fill our minds with trash the result can be anger, violence, wrong thought patterns, detrimental actions, depression, and so much more. As Christians we know when our choices are displeasing to God. The guilt that inevitably comes is easy to brush aside, and we continue to gorge ourselves with the things of this world.
This year if you happen to visit a county fair, take a look at all the well-tended animals that fill the pens. Take notice of the signs that say, “Do Not Feed the Animals” and refrain from sharing your ice cream or Popsicle with them. Then go home and start filling your own mind with what God desires for you – things that are true, honorable, lovely, of good repute, things of excellence and worthy of praise.
Nutrition experts teach the 4-H exhibitors what is best for their projects. And God teaches you what is best for your mind! — Love Mama
Sandra Sheridan is a Midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.