Surrounded By Hungry And Thirsty People

Surrounded By Hungry And Thirsty People

Neal Pollard

I was a child when I saw news coverage of the famine in Ethiopia, the mass starvation, the distended stomachs, and the deaths from malnourishment. I had never seen anything like this, and I was deeply saddened by the images on the screen. If you had asked me if I ever expected to see or know about anything more tragic than that, I would surely have said no. Now, decades later, I routinely see something much more tragic. I can observe it whenever I wish, though it’s not something that ever gets easier. Noah Icenhour, the fine, new associate minister at the Mabelvale church of Christ near Little Rock, Arkansas, shared a concept with me that he read from N.T. Wright about our culture. Describing why so many are swallowing foolish, harmful ideas, whether false religion, fleshly indulgence, materialism and greed, evolution, atheism, narcissism, or the like, he says that so many are consuming these things because they are so hungry and thirsty that to satisfy and slake these inner yearnings they are willing to consume even sources that are polluted.

We are surrounded by spiritually hungry and thirsty people. They long for purpose, meaning, and value, but so often they seek it subjectively. Or they go to an improper source to satisfy these. Consequently, they squander their precious lives pursuing the wrong things, a path that Jesus describes as one in which “the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction” (Mat. 7:13). Spoken or unspoken, they are crying out for proper direction. They want their lives to matter. While the majority (Mat. 7:14) will refuse the biblical answer, I am convinced that our society is full of people who are honestly searching. They would be open to hearing the Bible’s answers to these preeminently important questions of origination, motivation, and destination.

Today, wherever you find yourself and whatever else you are doing, will you have the compassion and concern enough to look for and seek to help the kind of person I’m talking about? Let’s pray for courage and wisdom, and walk through the open doors we find. In so doing, we will be aiding hungry and thirsty souls who will ultimately go somewhere to satiate their cravings. With us in their lives, they can find true bread (Jn. 6:35) and living water (Jn. 4:14). Such will lift them now and save them eternally! May our hearts be touched enough by their dire condition that we cannot help but help.

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Addicted To The Taste

Addicted To The Taste

Neal Pollard

On a slightly different life’s path, Kathy could easily be a world-famous, wealthy celebrity on Food Network.  Her culinary skills and creativity in the kitchen has yielded some incredible dishes that would cave the iron-willed. Incredibly, she has learned through the years to make things that are good for you not simply palatable but tasty!

In 1 Peter 2, Peter urges Christians, facing an ultimate inheritance from a God who wanted them though impeded by persecution by a world who did not want them, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1-3).

Peter urges them to purge from their spiritual diet those dangerous additives of attitudes in verse one.  They are more than malnourishing; they are poisonous!  Instead, he calls for them to hanker for the pure milk of God’s Word.  What would heighten their craving was having tasted the Lord’s graciousness.

May I suggest that this is a cyclical process.  In other words, we must be willing to begin feeding on the word.  For most, this is an acquired taste.  But from the first serving, the reader gets a taste of God’s good food.  It nourishes and satisfies.  It illuminates the soul.  It is practical in daily application.  It helps forge a closeness with God.  It gives strength in a difficult world.  The blessings of Scripture are multifarious, endless, and inexhaustible. The very experience of all of this by the consumer drives him or her right back into the Word for more!

Are you addicted to the sweet savor of Scripture?  If you are not partaking, you are starving your soul!  Those hunger pangs you feel cannot be satisfied by adulterated alternatives. Let us say with the ancient patriarch Job, “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (23:12).