Are we hungry? Do we know what we are hungry for? Are we really hungry for a meal or are we craving something else? What is it? What do we really want? Peace? Joy? Contentment? Love? We have this empty place in us and we want it filled. Right now! This is America and that's how we as a nation roll these days. We want something now. Don't know exactly what it is, but someone needs to give it to me, now. We're tired of being hungry, right? Where do we go to get what we really need?
Think about a child who says to her mother, "Mom, I'm starving to death! There's nothing to eat here!" And the pantry and the refrigerator are full of food.
The mother says, "I can make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a ham sandwich and a glass of milk. Or I'll pop some fresh popcorn for you."
The child says, "No! I don't want that! I want something else but I don't know what I want to eat...hmmmm." Then she gives up and stomps out of the kitchen saying, "You're not giving me what I want! Why don't we ever have anything good to eat in this house?" Uh-oh. Is this us?
The food is offered to her. Her mother is ready to prepare it. And yet, even though she has cravings she angrily rejects the offer. Think about this: when she walks away from the offer to have her needs met she walks away still hungry and discontented. Now she's really angry.
We're like that before Jesus changes our hearts and we gladly surrender our lives to Him. He offers Himself to a lost, hungry world as the Bread of Life saying, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry..." (John 6:35). Then as we draw near to Him, He begins to feed us with the truth of His Word, His forgiveness, love and provision. He begins to fill up our hearts with love, joy, peace, contentment as we follow Him.
Jesus also promises that those who come to Him in repentance and faith and believe in Him "will never be thirsty." (John 6:35). He says, "Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:38 ) Jesus will give abundance of life-giving blessings to us and even people around us will benefit! Imagine! He promises to abundantly provide!
All this feeding of the hungry warmly reminds me of a precious couple, George and Ginger Schmidt, who lived near us in our rural area of East Cherokee County. We visited them often and I ended up writing a feature story about them in The Cherokee Tribune in 1991. George was an Air Force Sergeant and a firefighter for the Air Force crews.While still living in New Jersey he was a fire and police commissioner before they moved south to Roswell, GA. Then they moved into Cherokee County and bought a 20-acre farm.
They kept adopting animals and ended up with 60 dairy goats, four dogs, 15 guinea hens, three geese, 13 turkeys, two peacocks, eight varieties of chickens (I don't know how many ... a lot!), a horse named Trudy and 20 or so sheep. You get the picture.
When it was time to feed their beloved critters -- and George and Ginger lovingly cared for every single one -- George would walk out to the middle of the barnyard, clap his hands and loudly yell, "Anybody hungry?" Immediately, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and peacocks came running from every bush, barn, shed and pasture and flocked to his feet. It was loud and it was hilarious. Then George would slowly walk to one of the barns, pick up a bucket and dip it into a bin of corn and walk back out to the barnyard to scatter the food on the ground. I've watched him do this many times! It was always amazing. The flocks knew George. They trusted him. They came to him and they were loved and well fed.
George Schmidt Cherokee Tribune photo by Jack Tuszynski (1991)
George made his "Anybody Hungry" call loud and clear so as not to leave anyone out of the invitation! Sounds like the same sort of invitation Jesus makes to the world. He says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6).But the world isn't hungry for the kind of food Jesus is offering. So the world's cravings will continue.
Jesus will feed us and satisfy our souls but we have to have the hearts that want to go to Him when he calls.
In loving memory of our friend and neighbor, George Schmidt.
For the joy and the glory of GOD.