Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” Matthew 5:6 (KJV)
I sat at the table, frustrated as I urged Zachary to eat for the umpteenth time. “But, Mama, I don’t like meatloaf!” he piped back to me….for the umpteenth time. I then commenced into my speech of, “I can’t cook more than one meal at a time. You have to eat what is put in front of you. When I was little, I had to eat whatever my Mom put on my plate. There are starving children in other parts of the world. They would love to have your meatloaf”….you know, the over-used phrases we all quote to our children, because we worry they aren’t eating enough and getting proper nutrition. As usual, my speech didn’t work, and I ended up giving his meatloaf to the dogs.
We all know what goes in to making a meal for our families. And how frustrating it is to come to the table, only to find out they don’t like what we cooked. Or worse yet, when they come to the table full because they have been sneaking snacks in between meals! How fulfilling it is to our nurturing, wifely, motherly hearts for our families to come to the table hungry….and liking what they see when they get there! It just fills us up with joy to watch them relish every bite, and to see them go back for seconds…well, that thrills us beyond words!
I thought about how hard it is to cook for a picky eater and how frustrated I get repeating over and over “but this is so good for you” and “just try it” and “please just take a bite to see if you like it”. Then, I thought about our Heavenly Father. He sets a bountiful table before us each and every time we sit down to read His Word or sit through a sermon at church. Do you know we can be very picky spiritual eaters? God knows our spiritual nutritional needs, and He plans our spiritual meals accordingly. But sometimes when we get to the table, we don't like what we see, or should I say, hear.
You know, sometimes we don't want to eat what is put before us, because the presentation isn't exactly what we had in mind. How many times have I missed an important spiritual nutrient because I just didn’t like the preacher? Maybe I had noticed somewhere down the line that they were human, and I reasoned away their message by zoning in on the fact that they were flawed and imperfect. Or maybe I just really didn’t want to hear that I lack patience, or I need to spend more time in prayer, or I need to be more dedicated.
So, I pushed back my spiritual plate, and I sat there with my arms crossed, making up my mind that I was not going to “eat”, much less digest, what God had so carefully planned for me and what the minister had labored many hours to prepare. There are many ways I can reason it away and justify myself. If one excuse or alibi doesn’t work, well, I can quickly come up with another one.
Preachers are human. They are chosen instruments God has called to bring forth His Word and necessary truths to the people. They aren’t perfect, by any means. They all have different methods of delivering the burden God has given them. But, whether or not we like the minister on a personal level, we will still be held accountable for the truth they put on our spiritual plates.
God sets the table before us, and He loves to see us come to the table hungry. He loves for us to soak up His Word and rake it in, no matter who presents it to us or how He gets the truth across to us. Some of His Word is more easily chewed than others. We all love to eat up sermons on God’s love for us and how special we are to Him. But, what about when the message He sends is about loving those who hurt us; laying aside sin in our lives so we can draw closer to Him; or resigning our will to His in order to accomplish what He wants to do through our lives?
God will feed us if we are hungry. And, it isn’t always in a traditional setting, like our personal devotions or sitting on a church pew. Remember when the children of
asked the question, “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” Psalm 78:19 (KJV) It seemed incredible to them, but they found out that He absolutely could! Right there, in the most unlikely place, He fed them and cared for their needs. Israel
Through the years, God has spoken to me through some very unlikely channels. And, I have been spiritually fed and nourished in places far removed from church buildings. I have learned to open up my mind and heart to listen and to recognize when it is Him endeavoring to meet my spiritual needs. God knows where we are deficient, and He faithfully "sets a table before us" filled with all the goodness and bounty Heaven has to offer! The rest is up to us.