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Nourishment that sustains

In my endeavors to minister to people during their times of sickness, grief and hardships, it is not uncommon for me to come away enriched by them through the things they say, the attitudes they display and the gratitude they convey.

Allow me to share the following example.

While visiting in a hospital, one of the nurses suggested that I go by and speak with one of her patients. She told me which room the lady was in, but stated that she was not sure what kind of reception I would get.

As I entered the room, the little, frail lady had just started to eat supper. However, she quickly lost what little interest she had in the meal for the opportunity to talk to me. It did not take her long to begin to open up her heart and tell me of the family hardships and physical struggles she was dealing with. As the conversation continued, I attempted to encourage her and remind her of the hope that God has made available to her. After visiting for a while, I told her I needed to go so she could finish her meal. That is when she spoke some words that grabbed my attention: “You are feeding me now!”

There is no doubt that she needed her physical nourishment, but she recognized the lasting spiritual food she was receiving as we conversed together about God and His care for us. She not only recognized the essential nature of spiritual food, but she desired it and received it with a grateful heart.

That was a quick reminder to me—from a most unlikely source—of how important it is for us as God’s people to feed others spiritually through sharing His love and His Word with them.

This year is still very young, thus providing us with an excellent opportunity to allow God to search our hearts and give us His direction for our lives in His service in 2011. Among the things that we should sincerely strive to do this year is to become more actively involved in feeding others spiritually.

One of the first indicators that often manifests itself in sick children is their loss of appetite. When this happens, any good parent will begin to investigate their child’s health status so the source of the problem can be identified and dealt with.

In like manner, we need to be genuinely concerned about the spiritual appetite of self and others. If spiritual desire has started to diminish, we must determine what is going on and begin to do what we can to regain and nurture good spiritual health and stability.

While being sorely tempted by Satan, Christ combated and overcame the temptation by relying upon God’s Word. Notice His response to the tempter: Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4, NIV).

That same spiritual nourishment is needed to sustain us today.

Christ gave Himself to provide Living Bread for all who will trust Him by faith. He has also called those who have devoted their lives to Him to be actively involved in feeding others spiritually. Let us all make it one of our key purposes this year to personally partake of His spiritual sustenance, and then share with others that Living Bread that God has made available to all who are willing to surrender their lives to Him.