Eating becomes a habit the moment we enter the world and pretty much stays constant until we leave it. It is one of the very basic needs every person has; consequently, many people eat three meals per day, plus snacks. Not only does eating feel good, it tends to keep us alive! Further, we often connect and fellowship with people—sometimes even other cultures—over meals. Eating is common worldwide.
Some people really like eating, taking great pleasure in such things as all-you-can-eat buffets. The point of a buffet is to try different things and go back as many times as you wish. In short, you eat, relax a bit, and come back for even more. Given adequate conversation or other activities in the interim, a few people might even go to the extreme of enjoying lunch and dinner at a buffet.
Apart from medical or spiritual fasting, we eventually get sick and die if we do not eat, right? We need sustenance to survive, which is probably why there are not many people in the world who decide “Let’s just eat on, say…Thursday.” Further, as it is a need and a habit, eating is something we do regardless of our mood. In fact, if we are angry, confused, anxious, stressed, depressed or even thrilled, sometimes we even eat more than usual.
Here is where we have to face a vital question: If we daily address the nutritional and hunger needs of our body, then why not those of our spirit? If Jesus is more important than food or anything else, why do we often give him only an hour or two each week—a week with 168 hours in it? Are we treating him like a light snack, being satisfied with only a little taste of his goodness each week? How can we survive on that?
It does not take a medical expert to affirm that it would do our body little good to take only one vitamin each week. Further, it would harm our body in many ways to only eat or drink once a week. However, the reality of it is that many of us are starving our spirits, just getting by or settling for the bare minimum. We spend a couple hours each week getting spiritual nutrients—perhaps even helping feed others—but somehow expect that single “vitamin” to coast us through to the next week’s dose.
Should we be shocked, then, when challenges and conflicts come our way and we have nothing with which to fight? Is it any surprise when our passion for worshipping, studying Scripture, praying and serving others wanes because we are trying to survive on that one weekly helping of Jesus and his truth? Just as with our bodies, the way to stay spiritually healthy, gain strength and grow is to get balanced nourishment every day, which means not just for a few minutes in the morning or night. In the least, why not match prayer times and Scripture studies with meals—three per day, plus “snacks” along the way?
If we instinctively fulfill our physical needs and desires each day, we should make just as much a habit of satisfying our spiritual needs. To truly grow and have the strength and ability to nurture others, we should treat our spiritual life more like that buffet—partaking of God, enjoying his innumerable delicacies and coming back for more!