You can only tour so many castles before they all blur together. My wife and I spent three weeks in Ireland in 2011. It rained almost every day we were there, at least sprinkles and showers. When the magnificent landscape was fogged in we found the ruins of dozens of castles to explore. At first it was dramatic and breathtaking to climb the fortress towers and walk the ramparts. But gradually each castle seemed like the ones we had already seen. In fact, we couldn’t keep them separated in our memories. I know this sounds crass, but we actually got bored with them.
I think the same sort of thing happens when we hear the Word of God preached. The incredible truths that can each inspire awe in their own right can get so familiar that we get tired of them. Great preaching is wonderful to experience. Coming away week after week with your soul full to overflowing is exhilarating. But, then it comes to be expected and finally it can be taken for granted and unappreciated. The important question is: how can great vistas of truth be kept fresh and impressive?
I think the answer lies in adequate time for rumination or digestion. When I saw too many castles one right after another I had no time to process what I was seeing. Later, when reviewing my photos, my appreciation grew as I took time to carefully study one fortress at a time. The same is true of Spirit filled preaching. I find that listening to a message I’ve downloaded a second or a third time can greatly enhance my appreciation of its truth and deepen its impact. I get to chew on it (ruminate) and, like a cow chewing its cud, my slowed-down-mental processing gives me much better spiritual digestion. Sometimes too much of a good thing coming too quickly produces waste. Time to adequately concentrate brings a much higher degree of enjoyment and long term benefit.