Monday, August 1, 2011

You Are What You Eat

I’m always amazed at the richness of words. The right choice of words implies new meaning and can stop us in our tracks because they touch our hearts so deeply. This weekend I heard several phrases from a priest named Godfrey Kalule (from Kampala, Uganda) that did just that and I wanted to share them with you. They were based on an interpretation of Matt 14:13-20 – the feeding of the five thousand.

1. God loves us for who we are.

Jesus welcomed the crowds that came to see him. He did not send anyone away. He knew their hearts, he could read each one. He loved them, he knew they were “hungry.”

How many of us actually believe that God loves us for who we are? Or do we think that God will love us for what we become? Do we constantly strive to be better people because we think God will love us more? Do we fail to let God in because we question whether He could love us when we’re such a mess?

The truth is that God loves us in spite of our mess and even because of our mess. He knows us and wants so much for us. It is us to accept ourselves and move towards Him. Move towards grace.

The bigger truth is God meets us where we are. He doesn’t wait for us to come to Him. He sits where we sit and simply waits for us to say, “I’m here.” The next time we feel lost, maybe the best answer is to simply stop and say, “I’m here, I’m listening.”

2. God will not send us away empty. (if we come to Him)

Jesus knew the five thousand were hungry and he refused to send them away empty.

He told the people to sit down and he fed them. Matt 20 says, “they all ate and were satisfied…”

Matthew doesn’t say the people ate until they had enough or until the food was gone, he says, “satisfied.” Their hunger subsided. They were satiated. Jesus did not send them away empty.

Matt 20 also says that the fragments filled twelve wicker baskets. This implies that Jesus has more than enough for you and me and everyone who comes to him.

Do we think our problems are so big that God cannot handle them or that He is too busy with others? We need to remember that everyone that came to see Jesus that day was filled. Not only did Jesus feed their physical being, he fed their spiritual side.

God has enough for all of us and then some. All we have to do is ask.

3. You are what you eat.

We’ve heard this statement many times, but do we understand it?

We all have a physical being and a spiritual being. Our physical being is always impacted by what we eat. If we eat vitamin rich food, our bodies flourish. If we eat constant junk food, then our bodies reflect that food as well.

Junk in, junk out.

So it is with our spiritual being as well. If we feed our spiritual beings with junk food, then we will produce junk. If we feed our souls with God’s Word, then we will process it effectively and flourish.

If we eat too much, our bodies get bigger than necessary which has implications on our physical well being. We develop aches and pains, our knees, hips, backs and ankles hurt. Are we eating because we are hungry or because we are trying to fill a need of a different kind? That leads me to my final question.

4. Where do you go to eat?

If we are in a hurry, we hit a fast food joint and gobble down food that we know we are going to regret later. But if we take our time, prepare a meal that reflects the nutrients our body needs, then not only does it taste better, but it provides energy for our bodies.

But where do we go when we need spiritual food? Do we look to God’s word or go to His church?

Junk in, junk out.

Do we go to places that we know we shouldn’t be? Do we engage in behaviors that we think will fill us up, but only leave us feeling empty?

Many times, we go to the fast food of life. We call or visit a friend that we can complain to and listen to their advice. We want the short cut, we don’t have time.

But when we go to church, we are taking the time to meet God where He is. How much more will we receive if we take them time to feed our spiritual lives correctly? When we receive Communion we follow what Jesus asked us to do, “Do this in memory of me.” Jesus promised us living water and he would never promise something he did not intend to deliver.

Reading Scripture has the similar effect of preparing a real meal. We can always read something that reminds us of God’s presence and assures of us of His love. We often find direction in the simple words or actions of Jesus’ life as well as those who followed him. The Old Testament provides a trusty verification that there is more and that our job is to not only trust in God, but meet him in covenant. Many of the psalms reflect on just that.

The simple truth is that God loves us beyond our understanding. He sent His only son, Jesus to share with us the true meaning of life and begin a new covenant. His death was the ultimate sacrifice that opened the gates of Heaven and allows us to obtain something we couldn’t on our own, eternal life.

The only question is: Are you ready to be fed?