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Serving the Bread of Life

Ellsworth Kalas, former president of Asbury Theological Seminary, once told me “You cannot serve the Bread of Life with emaciated hands.” Too many Christians try to get other people their spiritual nourishment while either starving themselves spiritually or filling up on spiritual junk food. This isn’t an example that I want to set.

I haven’t thought much about Dr. Kalas’ words from almost seven years ago but they came to mind while I listened to Bill Easum last week. He reminded a room full of pastors that our primary focus during the week is “to take care of yourself.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought, “Yeah, right. I’ve got meetings, committees, and other responsibilities and you think I should spend more time taking care of myself than on that stuff?”

I almost started crying.

How long has it been since I spent an hour in prayer? How long has it been since I read the Bible not for study purposes but to hear Jesus speaking to me? How long has it been since I took a long walk for exercise? How long has it been since I cared about what I ate?

I don’t like the answers to any of those questions but I now see what Bill was talking about. It’s difficult to be compassionate and patient when you wake up with a tension headache and your molars ground to nothing. It’s almost impossible to offer a word from the Lord to someone when you’ve stopped listening. It’s laughable to talk about disciplines when you look like you’ve been on the Fatkins diet for years.

I paid attention today and I prayed. I read 1 Timothy 1 and it has nothing to do with anything I’m preaching or teaching (not really, I’ll probably remind people that “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”). I prayed not quite for an hour but I prayed and I’ve still got some daylight left. Thanks, Bill.

For the rest of you, are you trying to serve the Bread of Life with emaciated hands? If so, go and eat. Take care of yourself.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    thanks, Matthew.

  2. Miguel
    March 18, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Amen to that. I plead guilty as well.
    Try to preach “practicing the presence of God”
    to a youth group who can plainly see my life is not exactly overflowing with joy.

  3. April 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I watched my 1 year old take my Bible off the table and play with it a couple of weeks ago. I thought 2 things; 1. she has probably handled the Bible more than the majority of my congregation this week. 2. How long has it been since I sat am simply played with God.
    Thanks Matthew, “fatkins” priceless. Great quote from Kalas… and a great cue… “Payed attention”. As a rock climbing buddy once said “right on”

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