I (Andy) only tell this story because God has been bringing the idea of hunger to mind a lot lately. I live in a country blessed with plenty. We live in a world where many are trapped in poverty. Please understand, I'm not being anti-American. God has blessed us in America abundantly. I'm just trying to reconcile what Jesus says with my own prolific appetites. In this world, hunger and poverty kill at least 25,000 people a day. If it takes you five minutes to read this blog, about 90 people would have died in that time. Over half of the world lives on less than two dollars a day. I spend more than that on a latte or energy drink. The food I tossed from the fridge is more than most people in the world will eat in a week. I have never admitted or seen anyone as a doctor during my practice solely for malnutrition unless it was due to some other underlying disease.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to cook. I love watching cooking shows. One show that's on the Travel Channel is Man vs. Food. There's this guy who goes around the country looking for the best pig-out challenges and tries to beat the challenge, whether it's a 7 pound omelet, a 4 pound steak, or some other crazy gigantic amount of food to eat. We've even got a competitive eating league in the US. Buffets can be found all over (I do admit, the local Indian buffet is fantastic.) From where I'm sitting, I can see in my pantry 5 types of cereal (most half empty), two types of chips, two types of crackers, pop tarts, marshmallows, and other assorted foods. Yet, amazingly enough, it's not all that uncommon for me to look in there and think, or have my kids tell me, that there's nothing good to eat. Anyone who knows me knows hunger isn't something I really struggle with…more like overeating. Not a hospital week goes by where I don't see many people who have illnesses brought on by their overeating and obesity.
Please understand…I really don't want to make anyone feel guilty. If anyone is guilty, I am just as much. That's really not my goal. I know as well as anyone that I can live on far less, and my flabby body would probably be much healthier if I ate less. I do believe God has put me where I am and given us blessings to use to help others. If you want to help out with hunger, there are plenty of places to give – Children's Hope Chest, World Vision, and Compassion International. I'm really thinking more of the mix of physical and spiritual hunger. I do find it interesting that the people in the Bible also were focused on their stomachs. Jesus was talking to the crowd that had just gotten the free outdoor fish and bread buffet. He said, "I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. (John 6:26)" Then Jesus goes on to say, "But don't be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you." Later, He says, "This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one He has sent." That leaves out a lot of the worries I have from day to day, as well as many of the things I spend my time hungry for. Seek the eternal life He gives and believe in Jesus. That's it. It sure makes me think about where my hunger is. I know the Bible says were are to hunger and thirst after righteousness, that David thirsted for God's word. I want that. I want to live a life of hunger for God. I want that for my wife, my kids, and the people around me that I love. Best of all, I know my hunger will be filled. "Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again." What a promise.
God, fill us with a hunger for you. Thank You for filling that hunger through Jesus. Help us to be filled to overflowing by you so we can go out and meet the needs of those hungry around us, both physically and spiritually.