by Jefferson David Tant
The pictures of little Emma before and after receiving nourishment are typical of a huge number of starving children in impoverished nations around the world. Manna Pack is the product of “Feed My Starving Children,” and was the work of Cargill food scientists and colleagues from General Mills and Pillsbury, who created a vitamin-and-mineral fortified rice meal specifically for malnourished children. What a great blessing this has been to countless children and their families. How thankful we are to those who have compassion for the helpless.
In fact, the description of the Judgment Day tells of God’s blessing on certain ones: “Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me [something] to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'… (Matthew 25:34-36)
While we rightfully applaud those who have the compassion to help those in need, there is another food that is vitally important to us that we should be concerned about. There are multiplied millions throughout the earth who lack another kind of nourishment—the “bread of life.”
"I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh." John 6:48-51)
Sadly, much of the world is starving spiritually because they are not partaking of the bread of life. And it is not that there is no access to this bread for so many of us, it is just that so many do not partake of it. Jesus said those who partake of it will be nourished. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
Do you have a Bible? I am convinced that most, if not all, who read this article have one or more Bibles. How often to you read, study and meditate on it? I am afraid that in many homes, even the homes of Christians, not much time is given to this book, which is the Word of God.
In many homes, when children come home from school, the question might be asked, “Do you have any homework?” If the answer is in the affirmative, then they are told, “OK. No TV or internet until your homework is done.” But in that same home, when Saturday evening comes, the question might be, “Have you studied your Bible class lesson yet?” And if the answer is negative, then “OK, no TV or internet until you study your lesson.” Does that sound familiar? Was there no encouragement to read or study the Bible the other nights in the week?
Consider God’s message to Israel many long years ago.
“And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
Are these words any less important today than they were thousands of years ago? Obviously not. And while we have more distractions today, what with TV, radios, internet, YouTube, and iPhones, etc., that may make it even more important to heed God’s instructions today, as our lives are filled with so many distractions that they didn’t have in the days of Moses.
If we are encouraged to eat healthy food to make our bodies strong, then what about some healthy food to make our spirits strong? Do you remember the words Christ spoke to Satan? “It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:4).
In his charge to Timothy, Paul wrote: “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following"(I Timothy 4:6).
Who is given the responsibility to nourish our children? “And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well" (II Timothy 1:5).
Although Timothy’s father was not a Christian, his mother and grandmother saw to it that he had a good education, starting at an early age. “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus"(II Timothy 3:14-15).
Our family practice was to have a Bible reading and discussion around the breakfast table before our children went off to school. And some neighborhood children also joined in, with some of our children’s friends becoming Christians. Are your next-door neighbors starving, or even your own household? You have the “bread of heaven” in your hands. If they were hungry for actual food, would you give it to them? And what about spiritual food? They may not take it, but at least we can offer it.