Hunger is a funny thing. Have you ever been around a person who was hungry for something?
My major in college was recreation.
I graduated, and am now a professional recreate-or.
The summer before my last year I took a hiking/camping/back-backing class. We learned what was important to bring on a multi-day backpacking trip into the wilderness. We learned how to cook, stay clean, set up camp, use a compass, keep marmots from chewing through the tent, ward off thirsty mountain goats, and hide the chocolate stash from the guy with the constant ‘munchies’ (though some of these lessons were not necessarily in the syllabus). Important stuff, really. And I got credit for it. College credit.
Anyway. . .
There was one other girl in the small class of ten, so by default she and I were tent and cooking partners. Which meant that I was hungry the entire trip: she ate like a bird. I on the other hand, could have eaten several large birds daily, as we were doing many long peak-hikes between 13,000 and 14,000 feet. But, the meals that she was responsible for… we ate like birds. It also meant that by the end of the trip all I could think about doing when I returned home was to take a bubble bath and drink wine. The funny thing is that I am not a huge fan of baths (I get cold way too fast), or wine (I mean, really, it contains neither caffeine nor chocolate!). But here I was, nearing the last days of our trip, and I was convinced that once I returned to civilization I was going to indulge in both.
Hunger. See, my tent-mate was hungry, so to speak, for a bath and wine when she returned home. And she made it very clear that this is what she was craving. She would say things like, “Can’t you just wait to take bath and drink wine!” It was all she talked about! So much so that I, too, could think of nothing better to do when returning home.
I have found that rather than praying for, stressing about, or insisting upon hunger for God in those around me, I can simply maintain a ravenous appetite for thing things of God: His Word, time in His presence, growing intimacy, expectation for miracles, and a living and active faith. When someone is truly hungry for something it won’t be long before those around will find out. The appetite of others will be wakened when they see your hunger. Hunger is contagious. As it is not the job of the chef to make you hungry, it is not the job of your pastor to make you spiritually hungry. Their jobs are to ‘set the table.’ Each person must decided on his or her own to ‘come and eat.’
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalms 107:8-9
He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Proverbs 27:7
When I returned home from that trip, I also returned to my senses. There was no wine in the house, because I do not drink it. The tub was probably dirty. So I took a shower, ordered a burger and picked up ice-cream and a movie.
How can you stay hungry?
- What you eat, you will crave: spend plenty of time with Jesus, the Bread of Life.
- Spend time fasting from food, to spend time with God & in the Word. This will reset your natural appetites and cravings, as well as your spiritual ones.
- Stay around hungry people. There is nothing more dangerous to your destiny than a loss of appetite.
- Physically, to increase appetite, you must usually increase physical activity. So, is spiritual appetite much different? Serve, love, give… the more you do, the more you will have to give!
- Stay connected to a local church where you can be filled, grow and serve!