Every July 4, an enthusiastic crowd gathers to watch some of the world’s fastest eaters consume as many hot dogs as they can in ten minutes. And it is quite the spectacle. Last year's champion ate 62 hot dogs. Can you imagine that many hot dogs packed into your stomach? Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest began in 1972 and is held on Independence Day each summer in the Coney Island neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Contestants have adopted different methods. Some tear the hot dogs in two, eat the meat first, then the bun. Others dowse dog and bun in water to help them slide down their throat as they essentially swallow it whole. Some bounce up and down to move the dogs down into their gut.
Whatever the method, the objective is simple: Eat as many whole hot dogs, with the bun, as quickly as you can.
What Not to Do with the Bible
Nathan's famous contest may be entertaining (and make for good ratings for ESPN on an otherwise slow holiday morning), but it also serves as an extreme, but helpful, example of what not to do when we reach for the Bible. This memorable foil provocatively cautions us against bad methods and bad goals when trying to feed our souls with God's words.
World-class eaters would never stuff themselves at top speed at every meal, but many of us are prone to come to Bible intake like we're scarfing cheap hot dogs. When morning devotions are simply our first to-do of the day, and we set out simply to read a chapter, check a box, and complete the task, we end up putting ourselves through something more like a hot dog eating contest than an enjoyable, nourishing, life-giving meal.