Will They Eat It?

It amazes me how businesses will pay hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars hiring consultants to advise them, only to ignore that advice. I’ve done some consulting before, and it seems to follow a similar pattern every time. The consultant gives advice, collects his or her fee, and then is promptly ignored. It seems almost as if the client isn’t really looking for sound advice, but for affirmation. Of course, consultants rarely if ever tell the client that they’re already doing things right, even if they are. It’s the consultant’s job to suggest changes, whether they are really needed or not.

Even non-businesspeople hire consultants. Doctors advise how to feed and care for our bodies, lawyers advise on matters of law, financial consultants help manage our money, and veterinarians help keep our pets and other animals strong and healthy. Like business consultants, these advisors are often ignored. Being a person who normally swims upstream, I always try to follow the counsel of such experts – particularly when I’ve paid for it.

A few months back, we had a conversation with our veterinarian about proper nourishment for our kitties. The vet recommended that we stop feeding them the inexpensive store-brand food that we had been using, and start feeding premium brands (that carry premium prices). His argument was that the premium brands have less filler and “stuff” in them, present more complete nutrition, and are used more efficiently – resulting in less “output” in the litter box. He made a convincing argument, so we accepted his advice and tried one of the two premium brands that he suggested. We winced when we saw the price tag – over twice the cost of our old food, but it seemed that, if the vet’s advice was accurate, it would be worthwhile. When we set this new, hi-priced spread before our resident felines, they took one bite, glared at us with a “you’ve got to be kidding” expression in their eyes, and walked away. I had to admit, the stuff didn’t look very appealing – and the smell was awful.

So, we switched to premium brand “B.” We were delighted to see them dive into this yet more expensive brand. They ate it like they hadn’t eaten in weeks. It turns out, though, that their acceptance was short-lived. Once their immediate starvation threat was satisfied, it was back to a partial boycott. There were days when we would find ourselves throwing dried-up, totally untouched cat food – that cost $1.25 per can – down the garbage disposal. At that price, it was a painful experience.

Finally, we decided to give up on the premium brands. It doesn’t matter how nutritious the food is if they won’t eat it. We started paying close attention to the nutritional content in the lesser brands, and are making selections based upon brands and varieties that have reasonable nutritional value, that the family fussbudget felines will actually eat. We’ve reduced our cat food budget substantially, and they’re actually eating the stuff – a major move forward.

We believers are often found trying to force-feed the truth to the world around us. We know that this is the truth, the “spiritual nourishment” that this lost and dying world needs. We are passionate about feeding them this necessary food for the soul, but they just don’t seem to want it. Many times, it’s not that they reject the needed nourishment – they just find the vehicle that carries that nourishment to be uninviting, or even offensive.

Like cat food, the most nourishing of spiritual truths is meaningless if they can’t be persuaded to eat. Also like cat food, there are three alternatives:

1) Let them starve to death if they won’t eat what is offered. 2) Make it taste good, and forget about content. 3) Maintain the “nutritional” value, in a presentation that is palatable enough to eat.

Is the world you live in eating what you’re feeding them, or just leaving it in the dish?

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