Life isn’t always fair. It looks like the hungry ones, the ones who love to eat, would get rewarded by eating first. Alas, it is not always thus.
When I was a kid, we weren’t the stars of the show like youngsters today are. If company came for dinner the children would often have to wait until the adults finished eating before they ate. Can you imagine that?
I don’t imagine it. I lived through it. It was painful to see the pastor devouring all those goodies while I drooled hungrily waiting my turn. Mamaw Deloney would peel and slice a potato and tell us to munch on that until it was our turn. A raw potato!
Lest you think it was only me, this kind of torture was widespread in its time. A “famous” country music singer, Little Jimmy Dickens, even sang a song about it—“Take An Old, Cold Tater and Wait.” Columbia Records produced the song but I’m not sure they are proud of that fact. If you haven’t gotten in your quota of suffering yet you can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBi_CyJe604 If you can remember this song, I’ll pray for you.
Yet, it seems to me that feeding hungry people last is just the opposite of what God does. Those who run drooling into His presence eat first. Those who stifle burps can wait.
Hungry For His Presence
Early in the morning a group of ladies hurried to where Joseph and Nicodemus had buried Jesus. Evidently, they had good-smelling spices they were going to add to those the two men had already used on the body of Jesus the Friday before.
You ladies never do trust us men to do it right do you?
I think they just wanted to be near Jesus. Even if He was dead they wanted to be near Him. For them there was more hope in a dead Jesus than a live anyone else. You know how it turned out though. These ladies who hungered for His presence were rewarded with the first revelation of His resurrection. Hungry people see things first in God’s Kingdom. No stale, raw potatoes for them.
There are still people like that today. They hunger for his presence. In God’s house, they eat first. They lead the rest of us into His presence. I’ve got friends like that: Jerry, Guy, Joseph and others. They love to be close, close to the Lord.
I’m not sure it’s even a matter of loving Jesus more than others. Peter and John sure loved the Lord. Though they thought the women crazy when they reported the resurrection, they ran to the tomb to see what was up. They had abandoned everything to follow Jesus and both of them would pay a heavy price later because they stayed faithful to the Lord.
So, what was the difference? Did the ladies love Jesus more or did they simply love His presence more? I’m not sure. Tell me what you think. I’ll put your responses in our “Reader Response” section of Coffee Stains.
What we do know, though, is that God used these ladies, even when they thought Jesus was dead. People like this are so important.
Often, it seems the Church passes through a “dead” period. And sometimes our local church’s services remind us of a funeral. No, that’s wrong. Funerals have a lot of emotion and during these times church services seem more like a dead fish.
Leading the Way
I’ve been in prayer meetings which were so boring they were painful. The most I got out of them, it seemed, was a nap. I hoped afterward that I hadn’t snored. That might have awakened the other pray-ers.
I was in a prayer time in Bible school once, though. It was mid-morning. We were sleepy, in great need of an update of caffeine. The prayer druuuuuuuug out, when suddenly a man began to pray with fire and that fire ran through us all. I’ve heard loud people try to move others with their own “fire” but this life came from God and it set the room aflame.
How we need these hearts who press into God’s presence. They take their spiritual machete and chop away every obstacle that keeps them from being with the One whose presence means more than the world to them. The rest of us follow the path they blaze.
The Church as a whole needs people like this. It seems to me that the Church in the world is growing. Young people are coming into our ranks. But, we need a deeper revelation of Who Jesus is.
It’s like Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry bones. He’s prophesied. The bones have stood up and there is flesh on them. You’d say they were men but they were just zombies. Then the prophet prophesied and the Spirit breathed life into them.
The bones are shaking. The bodies are standing all over the world. Oh, Lord, breathe life into Your Church. Give us hungry people to blaze the way into your presence.
By the way—are you hungry?
“O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. (Psalms 63:1-4 NKJV)
Have a Think—
The biggest problem in the church today is undigested theology. Bayless Conley
Teacher Debbie Moon’s first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted. A little girl said, ‘I know all about Adoption, I was adopted..’ ‘What does it mean to be adopted?’, asked another child. ‘It means’, said the girl, ‘that you grew in your mommy’s heart instead of her tummy!’