Day Sixteen: The Meal of Ministry
Fasting Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
“Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.’” (John 4:31-34 ESV)
What comes to mind when you think of food? Something simple like bread and cheese? Something hearty like steak and potatoes? Or perhaps something more refined like caviar? Whatever you think of first, odds are good it is something physical and tangible; something you can savor and sink your teeth into that would give you some measure of sustenance. Isn’t it interesting in the verses above (which are taken from the familiar passage where Jesus has been ministering to the Samaritan woman at the well) that when Jesus’ disciples bring up the topic of food and urge their Rabbi to eat, he takes that opportunity to teach them. He uses the moment to help them see the truth that feeding people spiritually matters more than filling their own stomachs and that accomplishing God’s purposes for their lives takes precedence over what their next meal would be. Jesus shows them that there is true nourishment to be gained from walking in God’s ways and accomplishing his work.
Now we know that Jesus was not opposed to eating and drinking; on the contrary, he enjoyed a good feast to the extent that he was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard (Don’t take my word for it, check out Matthew 11:19!). And we also know that he didn’t spend his days on earth imposing harsh restrictions on people, one of the very things he condemned in the religious leaders of the day. But he did want his followers to have a right perspective and to embrace the same priorities that he did – loving God and caring for the needs of those created in his image.
Fasting is a perfect time to purposely and prayerfully realign your life with God’s passions and priorities and to ask him what he wants to accomplish in you and through you in this season of your life.
Reflection: During this time when you are denying yourself some measure of physical food, is there anyone God has placed in your path that you can intentionally share spiritual food with?