I was reminded this morning of a quote I'd noted down a few months ago. At the end of a book written with Richard Foster called 'Longing for God' Gayle Beebe speak about feasting on "the real whole-wheat Bread of Life", quoting someone called Thomas Kelly.
This left me wondering: how often have I given people stale white bread, with most of its goodness bleached out of it? And realising that I need to feed God's people with food that will fully satisfy them, not just providing them with a snack.
But for that to truly happen, I have to ensure that I am receiving a sustaining diet too: that I am feasting on "the real whole-wheat Bread of Life" myself: for there to be bread on the table I have to make sure that I'm well supplied.
That set me thinking about some of the 'nutritional' metaphors that are used in the New Testament for Christian teaching. Both Paul and the writer to the Hebrews talk about giving their hearers 'milk' rather than 'solid food', which they would not be able to stomach, and Peter speaks of craving 'pure spiritual milk'. But how many of those in our pews appear to be lactose-intolerant, let alone ready for the 'meat' of God's word?
What I have found is that there is, at least within the congregations with whom I minister, a deep hunger for God's word, and a longing for a rich and varied diet. Lord, feed me, that I may feed your sheep!