Fellowship in the Field

In observing many grazing herds, whether of cattle, goats, sheep, or bison, I am continually amazed at how they hang together – always near one another as they graze. Of course, a vital aspect of this is protection – prey animals instinctively know that there is strength in numbers.

In addition, tight-knit herds have a very positive impact on the soil and foliage. They harvest the grass thoroughly, mashing in the “trash” (i.e. the unused part of the grass which feeds the microbes the “unseen herds” below the surface), and “spreading the wealth” of their urine and manure by feeding the soil microbes and bugs (such as the all-important dung beetles!).

However, recently, I developed another theory on herds of animals grazing together:

Fel·low·ship [ˈfelōˌSHip]

NOUN: “A friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests” (Webster’s Dictionary)

One day, I walked out to my pasture and noted that the cattle in my herd were grouped up closely. They had finished grazing, and were simply ruminating while their grass was peacefully worked through their digestive system.

As I walked closer, I realized that something deeper than just rumination was going on. They were not in a huddle for any odd reason – they were fellowshipping. I smiled as I observed. Each cow in my herd was lying comfortably in the grass with its head resting on another cow’s back. While the melody of pasture birds wafted through the air, my herd of cattle fellowshipped contentedly, upon completion of another pastured meal.

I had no doubt that under such peaceful circumstances, their digestion was progressing smoothly.

And so it is with us. The atmosphere of fellowship around the meal table adds much to the ability of our bodies’ to digest and absorb the nutrients from each meal. Have you ever experienced a stomachache after a meal where the conversation was intense or hostile? Conversely, have you ever felt the warmth and comfort of proper digestion when the conversation is warm and loving?

While I have long known those concepts, the observation of my cows’ fellowship in their field drove the principle of fellowship-enhanced digestion deeply into my heart and mind forever.

From my cattle, I learned that fellowship is a way to nourish the soul so that the intake of nutrients through a meal can nourish the body.

Scripture speaks to this principle as well, saying, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity…. For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore” (Psalm 133).

In what ways are you fellowshipping at your meals to enhance your digestion?