A worker’s appetite works for him,
For his hunger urges him on.
Few things lead to introspection and self-evaluation more than living in a foreign culture. My host culture of four years had some beautiful, simple and amazing traits – as well as some not-so-endearing ones, just like any culture. One thing that I noticed early on was the fact that there is not typically a “dinner table” around which families gather. Often times food is prepared, people sit on the floor in a big circle, or meals are just grabbed and eaten wherever they happen to be. Children are tied on to their mothers with a sarong, and typically stay on their mothers’ backs or hips while she works – in the rice paddy, in the market, and in day-to-day activities. They often do this until the child is a few years of age! The women are very strong.
When it comes to feeding a child, it is a very common sight to see a mother carrying a bowl of rice or noodles and following her child around trying to convince him to eat and sneaking a bite in his mouth at every opportunity. I have watched mothers attempt to force feed children in this manner that are upwards of seven years old!
My dad was reflecting on children’s eating habits while I was home for Thanksgiving. He noted that when my sisters and I were growing up, we really only wanted to eat two meals a day. There was no benefit in forcing us to eat a meal, because we would be hungry by the next one and eat well.
You truly cannot force someone to eat who is not hungry.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
– Matt 5.6
Sometimes I imagine pastors and Sunday School teachers as Asian mothers chasing children around with a bowl of food trying to force feed us. But we do not want what they have. But Jesus says we are blessed if we hunger for Him, and for righteousness. Only those who are hungry will be satisfied. Only those who seek after Him will be made righteous.
“He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.”
– Luke 1.53
Are you hungry? If not, let us pray for the Lord to stir our appetite. Because if we are not hungry, we are not striving to be filled. If we do not desire Christ, we are not of Him. But praise God if there is a tugging at your spirit to desire that hunger. Act on that now, before it is too late and your peaked curiosity is distracted.
Are you trying to feed people who are not hungry? The call of Christianity is, in part, to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28.18-20). Are you trying to teach and train people who do not want to learn? If someone is coming to church regularly but is not hungry, encourage him and pray for him. There is something drawing him. But do not pour out all of your energy on those who are not seeking to grow. Look for the Cornelius in whom the Spirit is moving. Look for the one who is teachable. Invest in those who love and want to know Christ. And let us pray for those who are not hungry.