I once read that a bird can go nine days without food, a dog ten days, a turtle five hundred days, a snake eight hundred days, some fish one thousand days, and some insects twelve thousand days (almost thirty-three years). For most human beings, the limit is about fourteen days. However long one may go without food, eventually, all of God’s creatures must have food or they will perish. Each of us has probably been hungry enough at some time that we could think of nothing else but food and eating. Although a person may be honest to the core, if one becomes hungry enough, he will steal his food if he cannot get it otherwise. Hunger is one of the most compelling instincts in man and beast.
Our souls need nourishment, just as our bodies do. One might think that the soul that is shriveling and dying from spiritual starvation would experience a yearning for nourishment, but here is a great paradox: The soul that is stunted and starved for lack of the necessary nourishment of the “solid food” of the Word of God (Heb. 5:14) is least likely to be hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Mat. 5:6). The Christian who has remained a spiritual infant over the years is the least inclined toward beginning and maintaining a hearty diet of spiritual delicacies—which is why he remains a spiritual infant. Those who most need the nourishment found in Bible classes could hardly care less whether the church even continues them on Sundays and Wednesdays. These brethren count a four-day Gospel meeting or a Bible lectureship a great “weariness” (Mal. 1:13) and have no problem virtually ignoring such opportunities for spiritual growth and enrichment.
Such saints seem to see themselves as having no need of such activities, when in reality they are most in need of them. Some even seem to have the attitude that they are so spiritually mature they could not even profit from continued studies in the Word of God. One would certainly be surprised to learn that such folk were feeding themselves on God’s Word daily in their homes.
Such brethren may be identified with various life forms. Some, like the turtle, may have taken little or no spiritual nourishment for five hundred days. Others may be like the snake, the fish, or even the insect. May we never miss our Bible class and worship periods on Sunday morning or Wednesday night by choice. More than this, if we would “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord,” we should feast daily on the “spiritual milk” of God’s Word, that we may thereby grow spiritually strong (1 Pet. 2:3; 2 Pet. 3:18;).
The world, our nation, and the church are all suffering grievous crises, many of which relate directly to the self-inflicted spiritual starvation and malnutrition of multiplied millions. God’s people have a dual responsibility: (1) To feed on God’s Word so that it controls our very thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5), and with the knowledge we gain, (2) to impart God’s Word to as many others as we can (Mark 16:15–16). We cannot teach what we do not know.