“How big is your appetite?”
This was the question we wrestled with at Iron Man this week. Not hard to get guys talking about food, right? Who doesn’t like eating? Most guys agree that what’s wrong with the world is there are only three meals scheduled in a day!
So what was the most common answer our guys gave regarding the size of their appetite? HUGE! Steaks, lobsters, ribs, wings and nacho’s! Love them all! Bring them on! Can we have seconds? Kind of makes you hungry just thinking about it, doesn’t it?
Then the question was clarified… “How big is your appetite for the Word of God?”
“Oh… we’re talking about hungering for the Word of God?”
That changes the answer significantly.
“I’m good, thanks! Seriously, I came to church a couple of weeks ago and had a full meal. I’m still stuffed. Couldn’t eat another thing!”
What does a lack of appetite say about the health of a person?
Jeremiah said this,
“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” (Jeremiah 15:16)
It seems to me that one of the greatest tragedies happening in the church today is we have developed such a meager appetite for the Word of God. Worse yet, it seems as if we have forgotten (or never taken the time to learn) how to feed ourselves. We have no memory of how to use a can opener. We’ve lost our skill in the proper way to handle a fork. And the greatest tragedy of all: We have no idea how to cook a complete meal for ourselves.
We are starving. We are starving ourselves. In a land of unprecedented plenty, we are literally becoming skin and bones.
Of course we are not talking about knowing how to cook a hamburger or fry an egg. In that case we would literally be dying. That wouldn’t do. We all know we must learn these things to survive.
But ask us to take responsibility for learning how to feed ourselves and grow our own spiritual lives and we become very clumsy and awkward. “Pastor, you don’t seriously expect us to do this for ourselves, do you?”
How do I know this is an issue? This Sunday all across America one of the most common reasons people will use to justify changing churches is this classic line… “I’m leaving because I’m not getting fed.”
Here’s what you need to hear when someone says that line. “I’m admitting to you I’m not capable of feeding myself. Nourishing my soul really isn’t something I’m capable of doing. It’s just too hard for me. I’m not responsible for the tragedy of my inability to handle a fork. Someone is supposed to do this for me. They’re not doing their job and man, am I ever upset about it!”
Here’s the truth: Nobody can do your spiritual growing for you. God didn’t intend for there to be someone assigned to spoon feed you! This is something God requires each of us to take responsibility for ourselves.
So…how often should you take time to eat? Can I suggest at least once a day… minimum? Every day we should set aside a dedicated time to nurture our spiritual lives. Every day we should get alone with God and feed our soul as we spend time with him. This is what time alone with God does. If you’re not making this a priority you probably have long forgotten what it feels like to be “spiritually fulfilled.”
What then is “going to church” supposed to do? Going to church should do for you the exact same thing as going out to a great restaurant does for you.
When Lisa and I go to restaurant, we get to enjoy our relationship while someone else takes the lead in doing the cooking. We get to enjoy their skills in the culinary arts. We get to learn new things about food and get new ideas to take home with us.
But what a tragedy it would be if because a few times a week we went to a restaurant only to forget how to cook for ourselves! Who wants to become the person who ONLY eats at a restaurant? Does anyone think this would be healthy?
So when was the last time you spent time alone with God and with a good book (the Bible!) and just stuffed yourself? When’s the next time you plan to do it?
Why not stop and do it now? Bon appetite!