My heart is deeply moved as I attempt to write this. In a land where devastating poverty exists, it is paralleled by spiritual poverty; the comparison can easily be seen with uncanny exactness. In Africa, I’ve witnessed the effects of nourishment. In small villages or communities where the Body of Christ was involved in the people’s lives, ministering to them, working side by side with them, building the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fields were greener, the land itself appeared more nourished, and the people (although very poor according to our standards) were rich. However, in communities lacking the Bread of Life, the land was also lacking nourishment to sustain life essentially causing incomprehensible poverty.
The Bread of Life brings life to the physically and spiritually impoverished.
“He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:16)
If you go on to read the very next verse, you find Simon Peter more frustrated as once again Jesus asks him, “Do you love me?” Jesus then tells him “Feed my sheep!”
What greater gift can be given than food – life sustaining nourishment giving strength and bringing health to anyone who will eat? In fact, a great man of God spoke to me on this very subject a few days ago pointing out the necessity of ministering to the physical needs of man before they can receive spiritual nourishment.
Jesus, when speaking with Peter, understood the relationship between spiritual and physical nourishment. His admonition to Peter to “feed My sheep” was more than merely offering a piece of bread to a hungry person, He spoke of the need to involve both the natural bread and the Bread of Life – where life sustaining nourishment which gives strength and brings health can be found.
We claim to love the Lord just as Peter answered, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” When the Lord questions us in the same manner our immediate response is much the same: “Oh yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” I declare that He then admonishes us all, “Then feed my sheep!” Don’t just feed them physically – they have need of spiritual food. Don’t just feed them spiritually – they have need of physical food.
Jump at every opportunity opened up to you to feed the hungry – both physically and spiritually. If you meet the physical needs, you will have greater success ministering to the spiritual needs.
You don’t need to go to Africa to find the hungry. Take a friend to lunch, take a meal to a shut-in, deliver a meal to a single mom overwhelmed with life’s responsibilities. Then, give them Jesus. Show them the natural bread then introduce them to the Living Bread. Hear the passionate urgency in Jesus’ voice: “Feed My Sheep!”
Father, our hearts are so overwhelmed with the desperate need for daily bread – spiritually and naturally. Show us opportunities to feed Your sheep, to minister to physical needs as well as spiritual needs. Put within us a deep passion for those who are hungry; give us courage to accept this calling. Show us opportunities to reach Your sheep with Living Bread – the Bread that more than satisfies. Oh Lord, we pray for those who do not know You as the life-sustaining Bread of Life. Teach us how to reach them – teach them through our hearts of compassion as we surrender once again to You all that we are and all that we do. In Jesus’ name, amen and amen!
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
© Jan Ross
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