A Cup of Rice

hungry_child.jpgYou’re lazily flipping through the channels on your new flat screen TV. Despite the vast array of viewing options, there’s nothing worth watching, at least for the moment. Your thumb stops on a random station. It’s a half-hour long commercial for “Feed the Children.”
The broadcast depicts a hungry African child. His arms and legs exhibit no muscle at all. He’s a veritable skeleton with dark brown skin stretched over the bones. Green bottle flies encircle his eyes and ears. His belly is unnaturally distended and swollen. He’s weak, pale, sickly, and frail. He’s had one “meal” in the past seven days. A small cup of rice.
A phone number flashes at the bottom of the television. You’re being asked to donate. Just the change out of your pocket. For the price of a cheap cup of coffee you could support this poor, starving child. You could put food in his growling belly. Your heart and emotions are aroused by this under-nourished youth. “How in the world does he make it?” you ask yourself. “He can’t live on one meal a week.” Determined to help, you pick up the phone and punch in the 800 number.
Stay with me for just a moment.
We all recognize that to be healthy, we must maintain a steady, balanced diet. We can’t skip meals for days on end. We certainly can’t live off of a single meal once a week. And yet, isn’t that exactly what we’re doing when our only source of spiritual nourishment comes from the Sunday morning sermon? When we habitually skip Sunday morning Bible class, aren’t we saying that we can be healthy and strong by eating just one meal a week? When we miss the Sunday evening and Wednesday night assemblies at church, and the only time we take in real, biblical sustenance is the 11 o’clock Lord’s Day message, aren’t we saying — at least by our actions — that a child of God only has to eat one meal every seven days? When we fail to open our Bibles at home and pour through the sacred Word each day, but then manage to “squeak in” at the last minute for that one hour worship assembly on the first day of the week, aren’t we communicating that a Christian requires little food for the soul? A small cup of rice, indeed. What we acknowledge in the physical realm, we tend to forget in the spiritual. Some of us are starving ourselves to death (Hosea 4:6) and we don’t even realize it!
When we go to the New Testament book of Acts, we find a group of folks who understood the correlation between regular Scripture “meals” and a strong, maturing faith. The text says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV). Did you catch that? The Bereans were more nobly disposed than the Thessalonians because 1) they received the spoken Word with great eagerness (A. T. Robertson says “eagerness” carries the idea of rushing forward/1), and because 2) they “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Watch it! The Berean Jews were commended because they personally investigated the Old Testament prophecies to which Paul appealed on a DAILY basis. You might say the Thessalonians had a cup of rice once a week, while the Bereans ate “three squares” a day.
Dear Christian, if the Word is food (Matthew 4:4; cf. Psalm 19:9,10; Jeremiah 15:16; John 6:26,63), and it is, shouldn’t we “pull up to the table” and fill our plates every day? If we can make time for television, sports, shopping at the mall, going to the movies, and a myriad of other fleshly pursuits, we certainly can make time to read and study God’s Word.
When would be the best time for you to delve into your Bible? At the breakfast table? During break at work? Before you go to bed after the kids are asleep? Pick a time that’s best for you and then enjoy the meal!
1/ Word Pictures in the New Testament, p. 274.

Share your thoughts: