Luke 1:53, NIV
“He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”
On one occasion, when teaching abroad with Ellel Ministries, we finished a conference in the morning and were taken out for a celebratory lunch. We all tucked in and enjoyed some delicious food. However, what we had not been told was that we had also been invited out in the evening, to a very smart restaurant renowned for its superb cuisine. The problem was that none of us was really hungry enough to appreciate the amazing feast that was being offered in the evening – we were still full from the lunch we had eaten at midday!
It is difficult to appreciate good food if you are not hungry. If we nibble on snacks all day, we will not be hungry for a nourishing meal at the end of the day. It can be the same for us in our relationship with God. If we have filled our lives with things that do not nourish or satisfy us spiritually, we will not be hungry for more of Him and we may miss out on much of what He has for us. Today’s verse tells us that it is the hungry whom God fills, but the rich (which could mean those who are full of the world and its pleasures) He sends away empty.
In the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus begins by saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. I understand that the word translated as ‘poor’ here means destitute, like a pauper or beggar – i.e. someone who desperately knows their need. Do we have that same desperation and longing, realising that without God we have nothing meaningful. David says to the Lord in Psalm 16:2: ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’. Can we say the same thing and truly believe it, or are we filling our lives with things that do not satisfy?
I wonder what the equivalent of snacks and ‘junk food’ is. It could be those activities and interests that are not necessarily wrong in themselves, but if they fill our thoughts and desires they can dull our appetite for the pure spiritual food that God has for us. It could be spending unnecessary time in fruitless pursuits, on our computers or watching television, looking for comfort, pleasing ourselves rather than looking to please God and help others.
In Psalm 23 David speaks of the table that God has prepared for him, and Song of Songs 2:4 says, ‘He has brought me to the banqueting hall’. The Lord has a feast prepared for each one of us if we will only hunger for Him, knowing that it is in Him alone that ‘My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of fare’ (Psalm 63:5). Let’s get rid of our spiritual ‘junk food’ that we may have been snacking on, and hunger for more of God!
Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for filling my life with things that do not really satisfy. I know that You are the only One who truly satisfies my soul. Please increase my hunger for You, and help me to seek You more earnestly for all that You have for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.