George A. Bowers Sr.: We are what we eat

George Bowers Sr.

George Bowers Sr.

The old adage, “We are what we eat,” is probably never more true than with the beautiful Pink Flamingos of tropical climates. These brightly colored birds with lanky legs and bent bills grace the lakes and waterways of the Caribbean and Mediterranean as well as those of Africa, India, and South America.

What many do not know, however, is that these glowing, almost gaudy, birds are not really pink at all. They are born with gray feathers that gradually turn pink due to a dye that they absorb from their food. This dye is found in their favorite delicacies of brine shrimp and blue-green algae and it works its way through their digestive systems, into their bloodstreams, and then out to each feather on their bodies. It also colors their legs and face and the entire bird has the trademark color for which it is well known.

Captive flamingos found in zoos and parks will lose their pink color over time if not supplied with feeds that have been supplemented with the needed dyes rich in alpha and beta carotenoids. If these additives are removed from their diet, they will gradually revert to very pale or gray coloration as the orange and pink feathers molt away with the changing seasons.

The flashy flamingos can remind us of the importance of our own diets. Not only does our physical food impact our health and appearance, but our spiritual diets color our attitudes and demeanors. When we neglect to regularly consume portions of God’s word, our true colors of selfishness and bitterness are more likely to show through. Daily doses of inspired truth from the Bible can dissolve and eliminate the ugly colors of our sin nature and transform us instead into something bright and glorious.

In John 15, Jesus instructed his disciples to abide in him and to allow his words to abide in them. If his word is to abide in us, we must consume it. We must ingest it by reading, listening, and meditating on his precious teachings. As we do so, it will be absorbed like the flamingos’ dye, into our minds, reshape our souls, and work its way out through our words, actions, and attitudes.

We are blessed in this nation to have ready and legal access to this life changing substance. We are free to buy and read the Bible as well as to tune to any number of Christian radio and television stations where we may hear God’s word proclaimed in music and teaching. We also have the freedom to gather with other believers around the Scriptures in worship and study to feast on its life changing truths just as flamingo flocks feed together in large numbers. Multitudes of books, CDs, DVDs, and other Biblically based resources are available as well, and countless Christian websites are accessible at the click of a mouse.

With such easy access to this powerful ingredient, there is no excuse for any believer to be bland and ordinary. We each should reflect the glorious beauty of our heavenly father and his blessed holy son as his word comes out through our godly character. Be sure to get your daily dose from God’s nutritious word by spending time in it today that you might display the beautiful coloration of your savior.

Striving to be pinker, George

George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at

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