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Hunger

By September 25, 2019Leadership

Author Jennifer Schuldt tells the story of taking her children to an aquarium while on vacation. Like many aquariums, this one had a tank where you could pet different types of sea animals, including small sharks.

Noticing the sharks, she asked the attendant if the sharks ever snapped at people’s fingers. Seems like a logical question to ask before you stick your whole arm into the water (as most kids will do!) and a finger might be mistaken for a floating sausage.

The worker assured her that the sharks wouldn’t bite because they had just been fed. Then he added this insight: if the sharks were still hungry … that would be different!

Hungry people, like hungry sharks, don’t always make the most discerning choices.

One of the wisdom writers in the Bible put it this way: “A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry” (Proverbs 27:7).

When you are physically hungry, you’ll eat almost anything. Without discipline and effort, we choose the donut. Why? Because it’s there — and it tastes good, too. State fairs and fast-food restaurants count on the combination of hunger and convenience to override good sense.

What is true about physical hunger is also true for spiritual hunger. When we’re hungry, we don’t always make the most discerning choices.

But physical hunger is easier to understand. My stomach growls. I’m hungry. If it growls loud enough for the person across the office to hear, that means I’m REALLY hungry. Physical hunger means “My body needs food.”

Spiritual hunger is harder to detect. It might show up as discouragement, uneasiness, longing, or dreams. Hunger, whether physical or spiritual, isn’t the real problem. It’s a symptom that we’re missing something vitally important that we cannot ignore.

If you don’t eat enough food, you starve. Do that long enough and you will eventually starve to death. But that process doesn’t take years. It’s estimated that people can live one to two months without food, depending on the amount of water they drink during that time.

Unlike physical hunger, spiritually hungry people can go for days, months, even years, and never satisfy their hunger. On the outside, they have the appearance of being alive — even physically fit. Inside, at the spiritual level, they are severely malnourished.

Some people address their spiritual hunger by reaching for the donut, hoping that the donut will fill them up. Like donuts do, it gives them a short burst, a momentary good feeling. Then it’s over. But over time, the accumulated effects of eating too many donuts begins to have a negative impact on our overall wellbeing. We gain weight, clog our arteries, and fog our thinking.

Our Creator designed us to feel spiritual hunger as a way of reminding us that there is more to life than simply serving ourselves. What brings real satisfaction is knowing that we made a difference, not that we drive the newest car — which in a few months will no longer be the newest model of that car.

Because I believe we are eternal spirits living in temporary bodies, no momentary solution will ever solve our hunger problem. What we need to find is something beyond ourself that will outlast each and everyone of us.

The quick fix is attractive because … well, it’s quick and often attractive.

Significant, meaningful work is just that — work. It takes time to cultivate and develop. It must be pursued. Lesser things must be shelved in favor of doing the one or two things you must do.

Just imagine a world where physical hunger no longer exists. Every child has enough to eat. Malnutrition is no longer a problem. Who wouldn’t want to live in that kind of world?

Now, imagine a world where spiritually starving people are finding true purpose and meaning. Imagine that the temporary fixes that cause so much distraction and distress are becoming less and less compelling. Imagine a world where spiritually attuned people are loving and caring for each other.

Now, who wouldn’t want to live in that kind of world?

Experience and Background

  • 25+ years of senior leadership experience
  • masters in management and leadership
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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