The Lord your God is in your midst . . . He will quiet you with his love.
Someone discovered that cows give more milk when they’re listening to music. So, scientists in Great Britain gathered in barns to play music to a thousand cows. They played fast songs, slow songs, classical and rock – and kept careful records of milk production. When the researchers finished serenading the cows, they reported that the cows’ favorite song was Moon River.
What in the world were they thinking! (The cows, not the scientists). We’re talking Henry Mancini “elevator music,” for Pete’s sake.
Yet, despite their backward taste in music, cows have much to teach us about our life with God. My friend, Ruth, recently told me about a farmer in Nebraska who tried to force a hesitant cow into her milking stanchion. The cow panicked and kicked him so hard his leg swelled up to the size of a gigantic, swollen leg.
You can’t force cows to give milk.
Don’t get me wrong: fear is a wonderful motivator. It can greatly improve our performance when we’re being chased across the pasture by an angry bull. It can even motivate us to schedule a colonoscopy.
Not only that, but, if you want to get a cow out of your garden (and I speak with some authority on this subject), instilling fear will aid your cause, and, possibly, preserve your row of peas.
But fear has its limitations. You can’t slap a cow on the fanny and force it to give more milk. Instead, you have to calm her. You have to relax her. You have to play slow, schmaltzy “elevator music” to her.
If we should decide to hold a picnic on the railroad tracks, God may thunder and bellow – not because he hates us, but because he doesn’t want us to destroy ourselves. But even the almighty, all-powerful God can’t threaten us into loving him.
That’s why Jesus didn’t try to terrify us, but to lay his life down for us.
That is also why (and I hope you’re not easily offended) the Lord is willing to treat us like dairy cows. He wants to calm us down, and quiet us with his love.
Last week, I made a disturbing discovery. Three legends of rock music: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Elton John have all . . . give me a moment to say this, for it pains me greatly . . . have all recently performed Moon River in concert.
Playing Henry Mancini to increase milk production is one thing, but crooning Moon River to add cows to your fan base is simply pandering.
(text copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)