There is a rather sad story about a young man in England who wanted to immigrate to America. He saved his money and finally accumulated just enough to buy a one way fare on a ship sailing out of Southampton for New York. Each day at mealtime he would walk the empty decks and look longingly in the windows of the dining room as the other passengers were enjoying their meal. He would then go back to his cabin and eat one of the crackers he was rationing so that they would last the whole trip across the Atlantic Ocean.
He was standing on the deck as the ship slowly sailed into New York Harbor, and standing beside him was one of the bus boys from the dining room, who commented that he had never seen him in the dining room for the whole trip. The young man explained that he only had enough money to pay for the fare and had none left over for food. The bus boy was surprised, and explained that the fare for the trip also included three meals a day. Due to ignorance this young passenger had starved the entire way when he could have eaten well.
Consider on a spiritual level how many in the world today are starving for the spiritual food that the Lord has provided and has made freely available to us. We are all fellow travelers on the road through life, and God has not left us without the sustenance we need to satisfy our hunger for spiritual meaning and purpose in our lives. How sad that so many are dying of spiritual malnutrition because they do not pay attention to the divine wisdom found in our Bibles. They are unaware of God’s generous offer which the prophet Isaiah expresses so clearly: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
God wants to feed us with the spiritual food that is able to make us wise unto salvation. He wants us to have a better life now, and eternal life in the future. Jesus preached of life-giving bread, “This is the bread which has come down out of heaven….he that eats this bread shall live for ever.” Yet most of the world is dying of spiritual starvation because they lack this godly food and are don’t know enough to accept God’s gracious offer to come and eat.
How do we begin? By reading the Bible. One approach is by a daily reading planner of three portions per day, starting in Genesis, Psalms and Matthew, which provides an assortment of Scriptural themes each day, and ensures we cover the entire Bible in a year. We may not understand everything at first or absorb it all. In the book of Hebrews, we learn that those who are beginners in learning about God’s ways must start at a basic level, which is compared to a baby being fed milk. “You again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food.” Later, as our understanding grows, we can digest more of the meatier aspects of God’s message.
How can simply reading the Bible change us? The answer is found in the Bible: “For the word of God is living and full of power, and is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through and making a division even of the soul and the spirit, the bones and the muscles, and quick to see the thoughts and purposes of the heart.” We understand ourselves, our world, and our lives differently when we have been exposed to the divine perspective. Just as the food we eat is absorbed and becomes part of our bodies, the spiritual food will be absorbed and we will be changed.
There was a time when the disciples of Jesus brought him food and said, “Master, eat.” He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” The disciples wondered, “Has anyone brought him anything to eat?” Jesus’ answer? “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work.”
This work should be our work also; this source of food should be where we look for sustenance. If it is our will to do the will of our heavenly Father, then we will come to His word and be fed with the spiritual food God offers us within the pages of His book. As we grow in understanding, we, like our Master, will be eager to do the will of God and to share the gospel by feeding others who are under-nourished in spiritual matters.
Paul expresses these desires beautifully in his prayer, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Imagine, that we might be filled with the fullness of God! Paul continues his prayer, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory.” Imagine, the Lord wants to bless us exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think! Imagine, we can receive these blessings by feeding ourselves with the Word of God and acting on it according to His will! With Paul may we all say, “I have all, and abound: I am full.”
Robert J. Lloyd