Recently I came across a rather startling statement from the 2nd century Greek philosopher Epictetus, “Sheep do not vomit up the grass to show the shepherd how much they have eaten. They turn it into wool.” As I thought about this remarkable idea in connection with learning, I realised I had been unaware of the long term good my early reading has accomplished. As I look back over my life I see that my ingrained habit has abounded into something ‘warm’ and useful! In the same way that every mouthful of grass adds to the sheep’s useful wool, so every moment spent with Yahweh’s Word adds to the richness of a believer’s life and faith; never underestimate it.
Over the years I have experienced ‘plodding’ times, ‘difficult-to-understand’ times, ‘dry-as dust’ times and ‘weary’ times, yet even these will build up strength and familiarity and there is nothing to compare with those amazing times when the Word springs to life before your eyes and the heart throbs with joy as Yahweh speaks clearly. How many times have you read the Bible through from cover to cover? Is it important to have done so? Absolutely – and the more times, the better acquainted we become!
Sheep are expected to grow a regular crop of wool, which belongs to the shepherd who takes it for himself. I ask myself if I am growing a regular crop of ‘usefulness’ for my Shepherd? Are you? Read and enjoy; read and grow!