We all enjoy a good meal! Just as our tastes differ in finding the perfect mate, so we have our own ideas about the ideal meal. When they say “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” it explains why your taste and mine can be worlds apart. Favorite foods are determined for most of us by our environment, customs, and traditions. Not only is a meal from a foreign country strange to us; very often foods from another section of America are just as unfamiliar to our senses of smell and taste! Raised in The Northeast, my basic meal consisted of meat, side dish of potatoes, rice, pasta, or noodles, with one vegetable. Meals rarely included desserts. With a very limited variety of fruits and vegetables, I did not know how much I missed. When I first met my future Husband, Norm at age eighteen, I had an eye opener! He hailed from the Deep South, and introduced me to many new foods including: grits, egg plant, okra, and fried yellow squash. Later I discovered pomegranates, persimmons, figs, and fried cat fish. A good southern meal is often served buffet style, with a variety of meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts. It is difficult to explain. The other foods were there all the time, in existence, but just outside of my little corner of the world!
Our church home prepared for a time of revival. In my quiet time, I prayed for the visiting Evangelist, who would present his messages. I became impressed by a thought… We know that we are fed by the word of God. It brings nourishment to our spirits, renewal, strength and energy, just as the foods we eat from our tables feed our physical bodies. Jesus continues to feed us His life, in His role of “the Bread of Life.” I visualized our speaker preparing a full dinner for us. His menu consisted of: an appetizer, soup and salad, the entrée, and dessert.
Often today our bodies are given fast and convenient junk foods, with empty calories. Our bodies are crying out for a good nourishing home cooked meal! How do they cry out? Ask any physician, and they will be quick to share their knowledge that many of our illnesses, diseases, and premature deaths could be prevented by a well balanced diet! Spiritually, we too often do the same. While on the run we try to satisfy our inner hunger and thirst for God with “fast foods.” We attend church when not too busy, grabbing our Bibles at the close of a hectic day, to quickly read a few verses, when we are really too tired to digest it. Maybe we squeeze in a message on the radio or television, listening to a tape or CD. All the while we are preoccupied in busy traffic, or at home trying to do our daily exercises, (to lose the weight from all that junk food!)
Let’s imagine a full spiritual meal, and what that might be like? For an appetizer I often like a scripture or a theme to make me sense my hunger. An example would be: “Be anxious for nothing,” found in the scripture (I Peter 5: 6-10). Well, that really gets my interest; because I have a nature to worry, to fret, to be anxious! Or, I may see a picture, such as “The Praying Hands.” It gives me a renewed hunger to pray, and to see prayers answered. When seeing a cross, I’m reminded that Jesus gave me His body, “the Bread of Life”!
Alright, now onto the soup and salad …Oh, how I love a good hot bowl of home made soup! My Mom made delicious soups, including bean, vegetable, chicken and rice, and potato. Soup is one of my comfort foods. Don’t we also need such comfort for our spirits? Yes, such hymns as Rock of Ages, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Amazing Grace, and Victory in Jesus would fill us with God’s comfort, warmth and encouragement. The message in song offers hope and security in His care for us. A fresh salad is full of vitamins and roughage, needed to aid in our digestive system, and guess what? If we don’t load it with lots of fattening salad dressings, we won’t get that middle age spread! Spiritual food doesn’t add extra weight that we have to carry around all day. It does just the opposite, lifting our loads and our burdens. Jesus said that when we are weary and heavy laden, to come to Him for rest. (Matthew 11:28) For my spiritual salad I’ll choose a “Tossed Testimony Time!” As we hear of God’s miracles, His hand touching lives, we are fed, nurtured, deep down to our doubts! God is alive! God cares! God loves!
Are you ready for the entree’? The true man of God is a man who handles the truth, the word of God accurately. (II Timothy 2:15) He starts in the word, proceeds in the word, and concludes in the word! His conviction is that the written word and the spoken word, always, always points to Jesus: the Living Word of God! (John 1:1-4) Here we have found complete nourishment for all areas our spiritual bodies. Our spiritual eyes are enlightened. Spiritual ears hear God’s still small voice, (I Kings 19:12-13) It is a message you alone can hear. An intimate, individual message is prepared. When hearing God’s word spoken, the person sitting next to you hears his or her personal message from God, just as at Pentecost each heard the good news of salvation in their own language! (Acts 2:8) Do you believe God has a word for you today?
Oh, don’t forget our spiritual taste…God’s word is not bitter. “Taste and see that He is good!” (Psalms 34:8). What blah meal times we would have at those special occasions, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners, if we did not have the gift of the sense of smell! Well, God wants our spiritual feast to also have a sweet and pleasing aroma. (2 Corinthians 2:16) Our prayers and our lives in this meal are to be a fragrance unto God and each other. When we feel full of God’s love in His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit, we are fed and satisfied! Don’t push away from the table, yet. There is still room for dessert!
Desserts are usually a high sugar, and high fat item. Do we need dessert? Some with great discipline choose a fruit, such as an apple or banana. Most would be quicker to choose pie, cake, or maybe an ice cream sundae! We desire them! They bring pleasure to the eye. Even just a picture of a dessert on a menu is appealing! When we take our first bite, it usually gives great satisfaction. We serve a good God! For our spiritual dessert, we can receive “the desires of our heart” (Psalms 37:4) Dessert: A time of praise and thanksgiving! We can sing praises unto Him. Adore Him! Then we see decisions made for Christ! As they say, “That’s the icing on the cake!” Come; let’s feast together on God and on His word!