Elastic Stomach

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

John 6:35 (NLT)

Growing up, and even into my thirties and early forties, I was known to have what some have called an “elastic stomach,” or a “hollow leg.” I’m sure there were other euphemisms, but these are the ones that stuck. Here’s what they were trying to relate: I could pack away enormous amounts of food. Even in my thirties, I would routinely go to a burger joint, order the biggest burger they made (I think a pound and a half was the biggest) and down it, the French fries, and (If I wanted to feel healthy) sometimes a side salad. Oh, and a soda of some sort. The wait staff were generally amazed at my culinary feats. They would routinely say something like, “Man! I’ve never seen anyone finish one of those before!” I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of proud.

Now, of course, our metabolism slows down as we age, and getting through a footlong Subway sandwich generally gets the job done these days. After one of those, I’m generally feeling full. The elastic stomach doesn’t seem to stretch as far any more.

In life, we all have a hunger. But, this hunger isn’t just for food; it’s spiritual hunger. We have an innate desire to fill our lives with spiritual food. Unfortunately, often times our spiritual diet is lacking in any form of nutritional content. As in, we either choose the wrong things to try and fill it (non-spiritual things), or we fill up on junk food (conspiracy theories, prosperity gospel, so-called “preachers” on YouTube). These things may fill us for a moment, but never fill that burning need inside each one of us.

That’s why I appreciate our verse today. Jesus doesn’t mince words. He said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” In other words, a steady diet of Jesus is the only thing which will fill our spiritual hunger, our spiritual needs.

So, what does that diet look like? We pastors call them spiritual disciplines: regular prayer time with Jesus. Reading the Bible (about Jesus). Connecting with a church family who worships Jesus. Following Jesus wherever he leads. When we do these things, our intake of Jesus fills that hunger. And, as Jesus states, you’ll “never be hungry again.”

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