Monday, June 24, 2013

What's For Dinner?

By Ken Jones
     Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
     You’re sitting at a table in your favorite restaurant, looking over the menu, thinking, “Im hungry, but I don’t know what I want.”  If it’s an unfamiliar place, you may even ask the server, “What’s especially good here?” You look to the next table to see what they have.  Then you order a large platter of rich fried food, and when you get done you are stuffed and wonder, “Why in the world did I order that?” You know there’s a big difference between being stuffed and being satisfied.
     I think this is a picture of life.  We’re handed a menu filled with options that promise satisfaction.  And we look at others’ lives and what they’ve ordered and we think, “Well, if I just had what they have, I think I’d be satisfied…if I had their marriage, their kids, their job, car or house I’d really be satisfied.”  For many of us, our souls are starving and we don’t even realize it because we’ve stuffed ourselves with cheap substitutes.  And we are undernourished.  We have tried to satisfy our deepest needs with the things of this world and don’t even know that it is a spiritual hunger that is really crying out for food.
     And the reason we don’t feel hungry for God and the things of God is that we are so stuffed with all this other stuff that we don’t even think we’re even hungry.  Perhaps you’re reading this and you aren’t very hungry for the Bread of life.  Maybe you went to a church as a child and you weren’t really into it.  You fled as soon as you could and haven’t had a taste of the Bread of life or a sip of the Water of life in a long, long time.  It’s been so long that you don’t even feel hungry for it anymore.
     I learned recently about starving children in third world countries.  With no food to eat, they literally use up all their body fat and muscles until all that’s left is just skin and bones.  Their stomachs have bloated and their black hair turns a shade of reddish blonde.  The skin dries out.  They’re malnourished and starving to death.  And I learned that there’s another thing that happens to these children that I didn’t know, and it is that they lose their appetite.  They’re starving, but not hungry.  When you offer them a piece of bread they will push it away and turn their head in another direction.  They don’t want it.
     And I think this is a good picture of what happens to people at the spiritual level.  They’re starving but not hungry.  Their soul is completely undernourished but they don’t want a bite to eat.  Then I kept reading about those little kids.  And what the missionaries do is they’ll take a piece of bread, or some food, and force the kids to open their mouths and force them to swallow.  And if they can just get them to swallow a few bites their appetite is rekindled, and they get hungry again.  They eat and live.
     I don’t know how you take someone who isn’t spiritually hungry and make them eat.  I wish I did know.  Because there are some people dear to me that I would do just about anything to see them eat just a few bites again.  I think they’d find that that is what they wanted and longed for and needed all along.

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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