I would say most people say they are "starving" when they are actually just "hungry."
However, this statement seems to be the opposite when describing spiritual hunger, even in the church. The truth is, I have seen a steady waning in what I would call "divine desire" over the last few years. Now, I do not have the proper Barna Group evidence on hand to back up my suspicions. Yet, I can most assuredly tell you I have found many a starving soul, and rarely with an admittance of the faintest spiritual hunger.
Even among the "churched" population, we have so satiated the soul with false intimacies, counterfeit gods, and misplaced pursuits. Distracted by the plentiful buffet of "other than Yahweh" opportunities, much of our cultural Christendom never experiences the slightest pang of soul hunger anymore.
Sadly, I would argue that heartless Sunday attendance, misplaced passion for faith-based events, and the infatuation with Christian celebrity sits on that buffet as well. It may be closer to the salad bar than the cheesecake, but it often serves as a distraction nonetheless. As it relates to food, the appeal of such buffets is the variety and abundance of food, not the greatness of the chef. As it relates to faith, the starving soul begs for abundant blessings and spiritual experiences, not the Spirit of the Living God.
To be honest, this increasingly prevalent phenomenon has me angry (for pun-deficient people, therefore the "grrr" in the title). In all seriousness, how long should the church placate the sinfully and socially satisfied? How long should we compromise the growth of the saints in Christ because a select few want to graze the buffet? When should we draw line in the sand, or the gravy?
Before you get defensive at my perceived lack of compassion, stop a moment and peruse a few gospel encounters with Jesus. The rich young ruler was not let off the hook because of his love and desire for money (Matthew 19:16-30). Jesus did not follow after him in attempts to convince him godliness was worth a try. No, in fact, Jesus called out to the crowd as he walked away, "It is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
How about these verses...
Luke 9:62 - Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Mark 8:33 - But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Mark 7:6-8 - Jesus told them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites in Scripture: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans.' "You abandon the commandments of God to follow human traditions.”
Mark 9:33 - And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? ..."
It is difficult to argue the with the words of Jesus. Even Christ found himself exuding a righteous anger at the lack of faith, or spiritual starvation, He witnessed in the children of God.
"Please don't tell me you're starving. Just let me know when you are hungry."
Today, throughout the world is the celebration of St. Patrick's Day. While the loose morality of the day seems to permeate the celebration, it might do one well to know more about the proclaimed patron Saint of Ireland.
Patrick was actually born in Scotland. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by pagan Irish raiders. After his captors returned to Ireland, Patrick became the slave of an Irish clan chieftain for nearly six years. During his imprisonment, Patrick once again embraced the faith of his father, who was a priest. It was prayer that sustained him throughout his captivity and a vision in a dream which led him to escape.
Patrick on Prayer ~
"The love of God and His fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
In another dream years after returning home to his family, Patrick received a calling from God to return to Ireland as a missionary. His knowledge of the clan system and familiarity with the ways of the Druid people led to the salvation of many people in Ireland.
While some of the details of the mission of Saint Patrick are foggy, the piece that is clear is this: He was imprisoned. He was freed. He returned to the land of imprisonment to invite others to a new beginning in Christ.
"To New Beginnings!"
God Bless and Happy St. Patrick's Day
* St. Patrick's Breastplate - A Prayer for Facing the Day in the Strength of Christ
* St. Patrick Info