In several eastern religions the cow is revered and honored. Not quite in the same we Americans revere steak, hamburger, and every other food adorned with beef. No these cows are given a place of honor, they are distinguished and carry incredible significance. To our western eyes it would seem silly and at times ridiculous to hold a “pre big mac” in such regards. I mean after all it is just a cow, right? We slice ‘em and dice ‘em, and cook them every which way. Though the practice may seem odd to us, in some cultures these exalted cattle hold a very high place in society and people will go out of their way to bring honor to said steer.
The Hindu religion holds the highest reverence for these sacred cows. In some states in India it is illegal to kill a cow, and punishable by life in prison. Several yeas ago, five men were beaten to death in a north Indian state by an angry mob on suspicion of killing a cow for its skin. Even Gandhi the highly regarded religious leader from India known for his non-violent protests that led to the liberation of India had incredibly high views of the cow. He is quoted to have said “I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. “ and he believed in may ways the “mother cow” was better than our mothers that gave us birth.
So maybe about now you are thinking, thanks for the world religion and history lesson on cattle. What exactly does any of this have to do with me? So glad you asked. You see a literal sacred cow is an actual cow that is treated with sincere reverence. A figurative sacred cow is something else that is considered immune from question or criticism, especially unreasonably so. Okay have you figured out where we are headed?
The plain fact of the matter is we all have sacred cows in our lives. Go ahead and read that last statement again. Be it unintentional or even intentional we all have things in our lives that we bring sincere reverence to just like Hindu’s do to the cow. Before you check out and decide that you don’t in fact have anything in your life that you hold so sacred you may want to take a closer look. You see the key issue with a figurative sacred cow is that it is above questioning, or criticism. Anytime anyone trounces anywhere near our glorified herd we tend to either vehemently defend it, or are so blinded by our devotion that we don’t even realize it.
These sacred cows can take many forms. Most of the time they become a road block or a hindrance to our walk with God, our relationships, and our families. They most certainly affect our ability and willingness to serve others, and to fully live a Godly and simple lifestyle that our creator desires for us. It is all too easy to start looking at other people and pointing out the sacred cows in their life. It is challenging at best to become introspective and really discover what is holding us back. Even as a few things are starting to come to mind you quickly have 100 reasons why you “need” this object, relationship, event, hobby, ritual, ideal, media, lifestyle, career, and the list goes on. Just as Gandhi was ready to defend the worship of cows to the world, we are ready to defend our blind devotion and worship to the sacred cows in our lives.
It is time to ask our selves why? I mean really why do we “need” these things? It begins with prayer and talking to God. Ask him to point those things out in your life. Another step is to seek out wise council from those whom you trust and will tell you the truth in love. Friends it is time to bust out the grill and have a BBQ. We are serving up sacred cow burgers and steak. Are you willing to really take a look at how you live your life and decide what things you really need to let go of? What is it that is holding you back from really following after God with all that you have got? What is it that keeps you from following after Him with reckless abandon? For too long we have gone to extreme measures to bring honor to the sacred cows in our lives. It is time as Christ followers that we give God our undivided devotion and worship. We bring worship and honor to God with our lifestyle, the way we live. It is about serving others as Christ did while on this earth. Do you hear that sizzle? That is the sound of the sacred cow taking it’s rightful place. Don’t hold back or be afraid to bring those things before God to the alter, or in this case the BBQ. For with this cookout comes a new level of freedom and a deeper walk with our Savior. After all it is He who has given us direction on how to BBQ that sacred cow when He said, “well done my good and faithful servant.” (Sorry I couldn’t resist.)