There are times during the day when we need a snack. Maybe we skipped a meal, or maybe we just need a little pick-me-up. So, we scour the food pantries and scavenge through our desk drawers. Fueled by our hunger, we look for something to silence the quiet grumblings of our stomach and satisfy the cravings of our taste buds. What is your go to snack? A granola bar? A banana? A cup of yogurt? Do you prefer salty or sweet? All things being equal (which sadly they are not), I would grab a cookie or candy bar every time the pangs of food deprivation hit me. If only ice cream cones and peanut M&M’s were just as healthy as baby carrots or celery sticks. But we know better. Unfortunately, the junk food that is most appealing is also the stuff with the least amount of nutritional value.
What do you snack on spiritually? I’m not talking about coming to church on Sunday mornings. For indeed in worship we certainly get the good, healthy stuff that the Lord serves up to us through His Word and sacraments. But what about the spiritual snacking you do during the rest of the week? What do you consume Monday through Saturday to temper the spiritual cravings of your heart and mind? Do you pick up a self-help book? Do you turn to the horoscopes? Do you seek the counsel of “wise” celebrities? Do you peruse your social media feed looking for a clever catchphrases or a memorable churchy cliché? Most of the stuff we see on television or read about in blogs and magazines are the equivalent of spiritual junk food. They hit the spot in the moment; but then they leave us still hungry or with an unsettled stomach. This is stuff with no spiritual nutritional value in it at all. Sure you can eat it, but you probably won’t feel good after awhile and it certainly isn’t good for you. For the Christian, Jesus provides a feast for His followers, a banquet of truth for our nourishment and strength. Every day, we need spiritual food to strengthen us to faithfully follow Jesus as we abide in Him. We need not look any further than the Word of God. Have you inwardly digested it lately?
Even during the week, it is essential for us to snack on the word of God. More than that, we need to feast on it. The Bible draws many correlations between physical food and spiritual food, and here in Deuteronomy, Moses teaches the Israelites and us that, as we consider how important healthy food is to us, God wants us to remember that what is even more important than the food we eat is the nourishment we receive from knowing and keeping the word of God. When your body feeds on physical food, it produces a physical power called strength. When your spirit feeds on the spiritual food of the Word, it produces spiritual power called faith. The Bible is our “daily bread,” more precious than anything else we might crave. It provides nourishment and sustains us. The intake of the Bible is the daily means of grace that the Holy Spirit uses to sanctify and encourage the Christian. We are invited – no, we are exhorted – to feast on this word so that we may be nourished and strengthened; and so that we may know God’s commandments deep in our hearts. When we consume the Word it helps us walk in His ways and persevere through any garbage the Devil or this world throws our way. So each day, when you find yourself spiritually famished, get up and grab your Bible—time for a quick snack. Let us stop gorging on junk food or allow ourselves to stay complacently malnourished any longer.
Stop snacking on food of this world and feast on the Word of God.
There is no substitute for it!
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)
Though the author is unknown, this old, ancient collect from the Book of Prayer gets it right: "Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen."