Posted by: Heather | July 19, 2010

The Meat of the Word

Before I share the message on my heart for today, I’d like to thank you for your patience in my absence for the past week and a half.  I try not to take a whole week off from writing if at all possible, unless it’s just one of those times where ‘writer’s block’ takes over.  However, last week, the Lord gave me 2 opportunities to minister publicly, which meant that I had to spend much more time studying and preparing for those messages rather than writing.  I am thankful for any opportunity He gives me to share His Word with others, and in any medium He chooses.  I was honored to be able to share what God had given me with 2 different church bodies this week.  It’s a totally new and exciting feeling, although a weighty responsibility to be behind the pulpit teaching.  I am in awe of God for being willing to use me in this way.  I’m happy to be back here now, until God chooses to send me another opportunity.  I appreciate all of you that support this ministry with prayer and reading my blog.   I pray God’s blessing on each and every one of you.

Hebrews 5:12-14  (NIV) – In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!   13  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.   14  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

I’ve spent most of my adult life being not only a wife, but a mother.  My oldest child will soon be 18, and my youngest is now 6.  So, it hasn’t been so long since we left the baby days behind.  I still remember them quite well.  As a new mother, I can remember the one thing I wanted to do more than anything…to be able to nurse my children.  Unfortunately, this is one accomplishment that was never to be.  I tried and tried, giving it my best shot each time.  And, for anyone who’s a die-hard, La Leche league-type person, it was hard to believe I couldn’t.  After all, they say there are truly very few women that can’t nurse their babies.  It’s usually a matter of technique, or doing things that sabotage yourself without even realizing it.

However, in my case, I knew I had done all I could.  One of my poor babies just about starved to death because of it.  I had determined to give it the best shot I had.  So, for whatever period of time it was (I can’t remember now), I gave it everything I had, determined I was going to get through it and be successful this time.  That poor child cried and wanted to nurse constantly.  After a period of time, I thought I was going to go crazy, because he never quit crying.  When I finally gave in and gave the little man a bottle, he slept for 3 days straight, except to wake up and eat.  I realized even though he was constantly nursing, he was actually getting little to eat, if anything.  Even that knowledge didn’t keep me from trying with every successive child, hoping and praying it would work.

When I gave birth to our 6th and last child, the lactation nurses finally handed me the label I had come to dread:  ‘lactation failure’.  Such harsh words to me, although I knew for years it was true.  My body just would not do what it took to feed my babies.  I had to rely on the kindness of some poor goats to help me feed my babies with their milk, because they didn’t do well on formula either.  It turned out my children thrived on that, and stayed very healthy, seemingly healthier than most other babies I knew at the time.

But, as all babies do, they began to grow.  After awhile, milk alone was no longer enough.  Soon, we moved on to cereal, then fruits and vegetables, and later small, easily digested finger foods.  It was not too long after that they began eating things like chicken, plates of spaghetti, and even salads (for some of them).  Now, my oldest has quite a finely-tuned palate.  He has very discerning taste buds, and can often pick things out of dishes that others might not notice.  In fact, he’s so good at it, he’s considering doing something in the culinary field, or at least that’s one of the interests he’s exploring right now.

Spiritually, when we first come to God and receive salvation, we are babies in Christ.  We have a need for someone to nurse us and teach us the precepts of God’s Word.  Learning these things so we may grow spiritually is of utmost importance.  True discipleship is the best way to fuel growth in new converts.

But, after awhile, those new babies should begin to mature.  Those that were once infants become toddlers, and then children and adults.  God has given us the 5-fold ministry to equip us, and we need it on an ongoing basis.  However, God did not intend for the ministry to nurse us for the rest of our lives.   He intends for us to learn how to feed ourselves from His Word.

As my children have become able, I teach them to prepare their own food.  I don’t start out asking them for a gourmet meal.  We start out with something like putting cheese between 2 slices of bread, or spreading peanut butter on crackers.  As they get older, they are better able to prepare more complicated dishes, and things that please their own taste buds.

How would it be to see a woman trying to feed her healthy 40 year old son with a spoon?  Many talk about wanting the ‘real meat’ of the Word, but have no idea how to pursue it.  And far too many are content to sit on a pew and allow themselves to be fed for years without pursuing God in their own prayer and study time.   We wouldn’t consider this normal in a physical sense if our children refused to move on to real food and continue drinking milk exclusively.  But, we settle for much less than our privilege spiritually when we refuse to study the wisdom of the scriptures on our own, and rely only on what others have prepared for us.

There are a few things we learn when we begin to prepare food for ourselves.  It’s harder than nursing.  To prepare, we must start from scratch, gather everything we need, and take all of the steps necessary to make something worth dining on.  And, often it’s very messy.  Sometimes you have to sort through things you don’t want to, like cleaning out whole chickens, or getting your hands in something to mix it well.  It can be a dirty process, but when the final product is complete, it’s very rewarding and gives a great feeling of accomplishment that you’ve done something worthwhile.

Moving on to the meat of the Word can be a difficult transition.  After we mature beyond babyhood, milk may still be desirable for some things, but the body is ready for real sustenance.  If you haven’t yet, make a transition…begin to learn, on a step-by-step basis if necessary, how to study God’s Word for yourself.  We will always have a need to hear what others have received from the Lord.  But, oh, how good it feels to be able to contribute to your own spiritual growth and the spiritual growth of others by what you learn in your own personal study time.  It’s a contribution you will never regret, no matter how much time it takes, or how messy it gets.

Allow yourself to be inspired by what others have prepared for you to feast on, and find out more about that subject for yourself.   Seeing our spiritual ‘children’ become mature and able to feed themselves and others is a joy that cannot be contained…do everything in your power not to miss out on it.


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Responses

  1. Miss Heather,
    You truly have a gift. I identified with this blog. Being saved when I was three, I’ve had milk for a long time. Recently, my interest has been renewed and I’ve advanced to substantial food.
    Thanks!
    Corteney

    • Corteney,

      Thank you so much. You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear you say that you’re advancing in the Word. It’s truly a gift, and I’m thankful to see you have an interest when you’re young. Continue to allow the Lord to be first in your life!

  2. Heather,
    Great post today finally got to read it. Funny my last patient of the day and I were talking about almost the same thing. The conversation started when he told me he know the Bible but does Know the Bible and then from there we go into a conversation almost like your post. Love you and see you monday!

  3. Heather,
    I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed today’s post. You have a way of pulling out the “meat” of the Word and helping us wash it down with a good dose of the “milk”. How blessed I am by your writing today.

    Thank you so much for your teaching on Saturday and for your kind email I received this morning. I am feeling better—not up to par but better. So many of the ladies who attended Saturday are still calling me and telling me how much they enjoyed your teaching. God has, indeed, blessed you with a unique ministry and I am grateful to be able to enjoy God’s blessings through your teaching.

    I eagerly await your next post. I love you dearly and cherish your friendship. Blessings to you today, my friend.

    In Grace,
    Marie

  4. Heather,
    This teaching on feeding on the Word of God is great. What a wonderful concept of using feeding your babies and children and then getting to the meat of things. Thanks for the teaching and I love you and your family.
    Judy

    • Judy, thank you! I’m so thankful you were blessed by it. We also love you back! 🙂


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