This morning at church, our teaching elder did a wonderful job of illustrating a deep Biblical truth to us. He was talking about how ideally, our bodies need physical food a little at a time throughout the day. This keeps our bodies functioning at an optimal level. There are some people that may only eat one large meal a day, and that is fine. They are still getting nourishment, but their bodies may not function the best throughout the day. If, however, we decided to not eat all week, then have a huge feast on Sunday, our bodies might not be doing very well at all. We may not die immediately, but slowly over time this would wear and tear on our bodies and we wouldn’t live very long.
This is exactly how are spiritual lives are.
It was about this time in the service that my youngest one was not sitting quietly (he is 18 months and there are still times I have to take him out of the service). Our church meets at a hotel meeting room and today we happen to be placed next door to another church that meets there. I came out of the service and sat in a chair in the foyer. From where I was sitting, I could hear the other church service (their doors were left open). I could hear a movie playing and thought, “what in the world are they watching?” A gentleman from church walked by and said, “They are doing a series on the Avengers. Each week they are focusing on a different character in the movie.”
I was stunned.
I wanted to cry. It broke my heart to think that these people came here for a feast. Most of them probably don’t eat all week, and they came here to be served white rice. Something full of fluff to dull the ache in their bellies, but lacking all nutritional value. How short lived it’s benefits will be!
As we drove home, the kids and I were talking about this scenario when thoughts of my mother flashed in my mind. My mother was a beautiful lady, both inside and out. She was very vibrant and full of life. But during the last weeks of her life, she stopped eating and taking in nutrition. Before she passed away, death had slowly crept over her. We began to see the physical manifestations of a body deprived of nutrients.
I think we see this same manifestation in the lives of malnourished Christians. As a believer who feels we are called to exhort our brethren to good works, I personally have sometimes focused on the outward symptoms rather than the inward nourishment. It is easy to see the outward sinfulness of others and be ready to offer a quick fix solution.
If we see someone dressing immodestly, we can easily point out the fact that they should be dressing more conservatively. Or the friend with the unruly children, they need to disciple and train their children according to the Word. And while yes, we would be 100% correct in our conclusions, we must go much deeper than simply diagnosing the problem. We must offer the gospel message as a means of first nourishing their spirit. When they begin to take in Jesus, the symptomatic problems will begin to correct themselves as the Holy Spirit begins the work of sanctification.
As I was leaving church today, I saw a young lady leaving the other service dressed in cut-off short shorts. My instant reactionary thought was, “I can’t believe she wore that to church!” After I had scolded myself for not being loving and kind in my heart, I then thought to myself, “She hasn’t had a decent meal in a long time. You would dress just like her if you were starving.”
And I would.
Lord, help me to both feast on and feed others the richness of Christ alone.