Have you ever bought a sandwich somewhere, looked between the buns and wondered aloud, “Where’s the beef?” Well, this may come as a surprise to most of my friends, but I have. I haven’t always been a vegetarian, and am not one now because I necessarily like it, and I remember the days of wondering, “Where’s the beef?” Although I have come to enjoy a sandwich of fresh vegetables and bread, I think it’s only because my taste buds no longer remember the signature taste of meat. Turkey was my favorite. And as a vegetarian, I can tell you that there is something substantially gratifying about a meal with meat in it. There has to be, because since my journey with vegetarianism started two years ago, I’ve lost quite a few pounds and made very few changes to my diet other than dropping the meat. I’m wasting away to nothing (it may take a few more years to get there, but nonetheless …) all because I quit eating meat. It’s quite an affective diet for anyone willing to take drastic measures.
Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, I found myself wondering this weekend, “Where’s the beef?” I went to a conference this weekend and heard two sermons that fed my spirit well. I felt like I had pulled up to a beautiful spread of the most delicious food and ate till my heart’s content. I was so filled! The speaker preached from the Bible and actually quoted several passages of scripture word for word, and then applied them to real life. I admired from my seat. This man knows the Word of God! It is becoming alive from his mouth and it is reviving me. And then it hit me: I have been existing off of morsels for so long, I forgot what it was like to dine at the master’s table!
I went home in a deep funk, fully dissatisfied with the church I was returning to. I could not go back to meager portions after experiencing a fullness from The Master’s table. I am hungry for more. I prayed before bed, I prayed as I got ready for church. I went to church early and threw myself at the foot of God at the altar before anyone else got there and I cried out to Him: “Where do I go for more? Feed me, Father. I’m so hungry!” I longed for Him. My praise and worship this morning was from the bottom of my soul. I want to go deeper, and I want to be full again. I entered into pure worship and felt led again to the altar. I prayed for Him to speak a specific Word to me, and He did. Then the message started. My pastor stood up and admitted a desire for more. He’s hungry too! And instead of waiting around for everyone else to get hungry, he’s ready to prepare a table of delights as God wills and feed those who are truly hungry now. I don’t have to wait anymore! It’s time to eat!
The danger is, we no longer go to the Word of God for instruction. We go to books written by men, mere tidbits of truth enveloped in human logic and opinion. It tastes good, sure. But allow that to be your only sustenance for too long and you will waste away to nothing in your inner man. Your spirit was specially designed to exist off the Word of God. Nothing else satisfies.
I have a good friend who once told me that meat has a something in it that guards your body from pain. You can’t get it out of anything else, only meat. I can vouch for that. Not from a scientific standpoint, but I tolerated pain much better as a carnivore. I bruise so easily now, and it doesn’t take much to hurt me. I think getting deep into the Word also protects us from painful experiences too. A deep, intimate relationship with the Spirit of God and His Word is a buffer against the world. Meat is important!
My pastor prepares his messages all week long, and my prayers just reached a fervent pitch last night. God prepared the meat before I even asked! He’s good to do that. I pray that He continues to stir up a hunger in people for the Unadulterated Word of God, and may we all pull up to the table and feast!