Spiritual Thanksgiving Dinner

 

 

Hunger does strange things to people. It can cause people to become irritable. It can make people lose focus. It is so important that the hungrier people become, the more desperate they usually become. Even the current marketing strategy for Snickers is 'You're not you when you're hungry'.

 

There have been times when I have been so hungry I have dreamt about food and almost tasted the food. In fact, we are so biologically designed to desire food that we start to automatically salivate when we smell or see food we enjoy.

The Bible says the same is true of our souls. Humans are designed with an insatiable appetite for God. This comes out in the form of worship or 'giving worth to something or someone'. Worship is a value system instituted by a person for the depth of control surrendered to another entity. The only problem is, instead of turning to God and giving Him the attention and devotion due Him, humans worship self and self interest. So they end up trying to fill their correct appetite for God with the superficial vanity of self. It is similar to trying to fill your starving stomach with the air of a balloon. Although you may become bloated, it does not produce health nor long term satisfaction.

This brings us to spiritual eating. Where do you get 'fed'? Although it is true we must feed on God's word individually, especially in our day and age when we have God's word in almost every format imaginable--written on paper, digital documents, video and audio, the Bible says God has chosen special men to speak His words to His people. This is known as the 'church' gathered together to learn together. I have had many great and rewarding times with God by myself studying and absorbing His word, but I have had the most consistently spiritually rewarding moments with others gathered together to learn and worship. Every Sunday should be a thanksgiving holiday.

Every sermon should be a thanksgiving dinner. Every believer should be a thanksgiving participant. Everyone should leave church well fed on the word of God. Shame on the spiritual shepherds that starve their flock with their own words or teach an unbalanced perspective on God to the harm of their sheep. Deception runs rampant in our world and unsuspecting, spiritually starving people wander around looking for food and they eat whatever is near them no matter how unhealthy. How damning that they cannot find a good meal in churches many of them attend! What kind of climate are we in that much of the preaching that reaches peoples ears is neither healthy nor biblical. It might not tickle the ear all the time but if it is what is needed to bring wholeness then let it be brought forward.

I fear for shepherds who keep throwing out sermons of 'peace and happiness' when it is like filling the stomachs of their flock with air rather than food they can use. Their souls may indeed want to passionately pursue God but they are so malnourished they cannot follow. You are designed to worship God and burn with the energy given from God's word. May we find it this Sunday--this 'thanksgiving'!

Jim Jackson