“I’ve got some Oreos to share!”
The teacher chimed in quickly, “No sharing boys!”
I over heard the conversation between two boys and their teacher at the recreation center the other day. They had worked up an appetite on the monkey bars and it was pretty clear that the boys were starving and very anxious to break out their lunch boxes.
The conversation made me think about another little boy. The little boy in the crowd the day Jesus was teaching on the hillside. 5,000 had gathered to listen… record attendance even by today’s standards! The disciples became concerned because no one had eaten for hours. I’m pretty sure they felt if someone fainted, it might draw attention away from the message Jesus was teaching. But when Jesus tells them to go ahead and feed the crowd, their response is incredulous. Really? Jesus, You’ve got to be kidding!
In the crowd there is a small boy with a lunch his Mama had packed just that morning. Five loaves and two fish, he’s willing to share (maybe he doesn’t like fish) but let’s face it that meager of a lunch isn’t going to go far among 5,000. Jesus, unlike the recreation teacher applauds sharing and receives the little boy’s lunch. Imagine that little boy’s eyes growing big with wonder as Jesus blesses it and breaks it into enough for thousands! Remarkably everyone in the crowd of 5,000 gets plenty to eat. Later, Jesus reminds His followers, that He alone is the bread of life. (John 6:48) In that statement Jesus offers us a promise – If you come to me, I can meet your deepest longings.
As I reflect on that story, I realize I’m hungry. Not for Oreos (although one could argue, chocolate is pretty inviting from time to time). I realize I have a voracious appetite for things like love, affirmation, approval, wisdom, and purpose. When I dare to bring those needs to Jesus, the bread of life, He satisfies my soul in a way lesser things cannot. But, the irony is that the more my soul is satisfied with Jesus, the more of Him my soul craves.
What about you? Maybe you’re experiencing loneliness right now and you’re longing for love. Maybe your marriage hasn’t turned out quite like you planned and you’re craving affirmation. Maybe the kids are driving you crazy and you need wisdom. Or, maybe you need a renewed sense of purpose in your job. Jesus came as your bread of life. He invites you to come, to eat, to feast on HIs love. The question is how’s your appetite?
When my appetite for Jesus is diminishing I find it helpful to fast cheap substitutes. What are cheap substitutes? They are what you naturally run to when life gets tough to make you feel better. Common cheap substitutes might include, T.V., food, shopping, alcohol, or anything else that you use to anesthetize pain or loneliness. Fasting is simply choosing to deny yourself that privilege to increase your hunger for God. For example, let’s say every time you feel lonely, you turn on the T.V. next time choose to thank the Lord that His presence is close. With practice your appetite for Jesus will increase.
Why don’t you give it a shot this week and let me know how it works for you? Leave a comment. Your comment might encourage someone else.