35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
During my junior year at Methodist College (it has since become Methodist University) I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to go on a singing tour of France with my college chorus. We visited the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre, but my most memorable experience was the 7-course dinner we had with the town leaders of our sister city, St. Avold. Thirty plus members and I joined at least that many more guests in a gorgeous banquet hall for a fabulous French feast. Each course was perfectly plated, made with only the freshest ingredients and paired with, of course, an exquisite glass of French wine. Never before, or since, have I consumed such a life giving meal. Although our hosts spoke very little English and only a few of our students could understand conversational French, we found common ground through our palates and our voices as we began singing some of the worlds most beloved choral arrangements together. After 3-4 hours of eating, drinking, singing and laughing our bellies were full- and so were our hearts.
These days, when our family is swayed by one of those pesky cows to “eat more chicken,” our feast only lasts a measly 3-4 minutes! Never once have I gotten up from the table or out of the car with a full belly -and heart. In fact, an hour or so after the quick service food has broken down into nothingness I’m usually hungry again. The same phenomenon applies when I use the drive thru to pick up a little snack from God, instead of sitting down to a 7-course meal to eat and drink Him in.
When I first began following Jesus I lived off fast food experiences:
-church on Sunday
-an occasional skim through a devotional book during the week
-tune in to a Christian radio station during part of my commute home
-watch a tv evangelist once in a while
I rarely cracked open one of the many bibles that sat on my shelf, and prayer only happened when somebody else forced me. I had NO idea what Jesus meant when He said He was the bread of life. That is, until I began making the time to sit to His table, read the word, pray and worship Him for who He is. Only then did I feel full- no longer thirsty or hungry an hour later. The same discipline is still true today. When my calendar is over booked and I hit the ground running, taking only a few minutes with Him before I start my day, I usually feel the pangs of hunger rather quickly:
-a kid cops an attitude with me and I react in anger
-Doug says something that I don’t agree with and the “heated debate” is ON
-a friend or family member sends me a message and I am immediately offended by their words or emoticons
-I call my neighbor an idiot when she almost runs me over during my walk through the neighborhood
-blah, blah, blah….
However, when I take the time to engage in a 7 course meal:
with my Creator in the morning I always reap the nutritional benefits of the final course, just as it was served in France: wine, cheese…and fresh fruit.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.