Tag Archives: Food

Spiritual Food and Physical Food

There is a new video making the rounds that has everyone talking, and rightfully so.  Here it is, in case anyone is interested:

I’ve seen this video being discussed in several Christian circles, and the comments are as expected and as warranted.  “This is how we should be,” “Christians need to wake up, and start doing more,” etc…  Again, this is all well and good, but there are several points I never see addressed, and will attempt to do so here.

First, it has to be pointed out that the situation portrayed here, and in some other Hindu sections of the world, are caused, in part, by the religion itself.  It was brought up peripherally in the video; Brahmins aren’t even supposed to associate with Untouchables.  That is the Hindu caste system; it is a built in part of their religion.  Why? Karma.  Don’t forget a main tenet of Hinduism; reincarnation.  You see, all those destitute people are destitute because of their past lives; they are reborn Untouchable because of something they did in a past life, so says Hinduism, so they deserve their lot in life.

I come from the Midwest USA.  We don’t have people this destitute, literally starving skeletons, living out on the street.  Even in places like Chicago and St. Louis, our poor are not living in the same conditions, and our dominant religion here, Christianity, stresses that these ARE the people that need compassion and love and help.  Christianity does not have a caste system with one group of humans deemed “untouchable.”  Quite the contrary.

Secondly, everyone that responds to this video does recognize that helping others that can’t help themselves is an admirable thing, something we should all keep in mind and strive to do.  However, one key aspect that is missed in the video and in conversation stemming from the video even amongst Christians is: Physical food is one thing, but is meaningless apart from Spiritual food.  Jesus Himself was quick to make this point, and it is a main tenet of the Christian faith.

Narayanan Krishnan, the man in the video, made the point that he feeds the body and the mind (or emotion).  He’s right, he does.  But humans are triune in nature, being made in the image of God.  Our body, mind, AND spirit needs fed.  You can physically make someone feel good, and mentally make them feel good, but in the end, at some point in time and for a myriad possible different reasons, that person is going to die.  If we only feed the physical and/or mental, it amounts to nothing.  Feeding the Spiritual and making sure someone is in right relationship with God culminates in eternal life.

The miracle of the loaves and fishes shows that Jesus clearly understood and acknowledged physical hunger, and cared for his disciples and those following Him around.  However, the events in John 6 also show what the stress should be placed on; Spiritual food.  The only spiritual food that is true and fulfilling are the words and teachings of Jesus Christ.  He is the bread of life.  If we do not tell others of Him while we are feeding them physical food, all our human effort is wasted. Time for a nice healthy chunk of food:

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 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. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

We see in John chapter 4,  the same is said of water:

John 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

Those fed physically will hunger again. Those given physical water will thirst again.  Those given the Truth of Christ, and those who accept it, will never hunger nor thirst again, spiritually.  When this life is left behind, those that have partaken of Christ spiritually, will have eternal life where hunger and thirst have no more meaning.  Now, will someone who is physically starving to death be able to hear, comprehend, and accept the gospel.  Probably not.  So, the physical and mental needs do need met, but to neglect the spiritual while feeding the other is not an act of mercy  with any lasting value.  Anyone who reads this and construes it as, “Well, then, I don’t need to help see to someone’s physical needs,” is fooling themselves.  As God guides us,we should be “hilarious givers,” we should be helping those who need it, through God’s provision to us…but more than anything people need Christ, if we feed the body without feeding the soul The Bread of Life, then it is cruelty masquerading as kindness.  It is feeding the body while letting the soul starve.

Believers need to realize that we have been given Living Water, and The Bread of Life, and be willing to help our fellow human beings body, mind, and soul, through God’s grace and His blessings.

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Filed under Christianity, Musings, Of Interest, Uncategorized

Biblical food metaphors…

Have you ever noticed how many times a food metaphor is used in the Bible?  Many times, it isn’t “cream puff” ideas being put forth either…Jesus Himself employed them about various subjects, including Himself.  Why do you think that is?

John 6:35 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

Food and drink are two things every human can relate to.  We know what it is like to be hungry and thirsty; these are experiences we’ve all had.  When a food metaphor is used, it is then easy to connect to no matter who you are.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Food and drink are essential to life.  Food gives us energy, and strength.  It helps us to grow and even to think.  Have you ever noticed that when you are hungry that it is easier to zone out; usually we just concentrate on the rumblings in our stomachs.  When you are thirsty all you can think of is how thirsty you are, how great it would be for a nice cool glass of some kind of sparkling liquid to quench that thirst.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, one of the outcomes of the isolation was that Jesus was hungry.  Here comes the devil to tempt Him with food.  Command the stones to become bread, the devil prodded.  How did Jesus answer?  Matthew 4:4…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The metaphor is doubled when we consider that Christ Himself is the very Word of God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

So, that is our answer to getting spiritual food; we turn to the word of God; scripture, and also to The Word of God; Christ.  In the same way that physical food nourishes our bodies, helps us to grow, to concentrate, to be strong…so too does turning to the word and The Word of God.  I’ve mentioned before that I find it interesting that those who do not have a relationship with God; those that are not permanently quenching that thirst, try to quench it through various means, be it with drugs, human relationships, fame, physical food, man-made philosophy, etc…  While in their current lives, these things may add something, we are more concerned with eternal life. It reminds me of the occurrence of pica; the ingestion of substances that don’t really have any nutritional value…such as clay from a river bank.  Often times it gives the impression that one is feeding oneself, it makes you feel full for a time, but in reality, the person is not getting anything from what they are eating.  In fact, their body may be in need of some essential nutrient, but they are not getting it from the substance that they consume.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…. 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

So, for me, it is clear why food metaphors are used; they are central to the human experience, food and drink are necessary for life, we gather energy and strength from them, and let’s face it, most of us like good food.  Food, in the best of times, also becomes a communal experience, something shared between people.  Food connects us and enhances our lives…so it should be with spiritual food as well.  Just as with physical food and drink, we need to keep part of our minds on our health.  It matters very much what we put into ourselves, what we feed on, what we draw our nutrition from.

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Filed under Communion, The Bible, Theology