Summary: Full lives. Full social calendars. Full houses. But if we are honest, most of us are also full of famine! Why?
Pt. 3 - Refusing Rations
I have challenged you to examine your own level of passion, pursuit and hunger for God. I told you that I believe we as a movement - Christianity - we are in the midst of a famine. However, I want to tell you that I believe the famine has come to roost and taken up root in Passion. Here are some of the symptoms I said reveal this fact ... the glazed over eyes, lack of passion, participation or anticipation for worship, lack of concern, lack of action, lack of obedience to the Word, lack of any discipline when it comes to study, treating gathering, as commanded by Scripture, as optional and low on the priority list. All signs of a famine. I can feel it. I can see it. I also told you this famine is a direct result of the plague of plenty. We are so blessed that we take for granted what we have. We long for yesterday thinking it was better and we become incredibly picky because when you have plenty you begin to become more concerned about preference than presence. So the type of worship song, the preference for style, etc. cause us to turn away as if it won't sustain us. I asked you an incredibly important question . . . What if manna is still the means by which God desires to fill you. Our desire for fish when God is still using manna could cause us to starve while pushing away angel food cake!
But I also told you that I also believe the famine is in its early stages and we can take steps inside this body and personally to stop it. We can take steps to stop the long term terrifying implications of it. Which brings us to today. I want to talk to you about one of the keys to stopping a famine before it becomes wide spread and fatal.
One of the key issues when folks begin to live in or experience famine is become acclimated or content with rations. Forget the fact that Jesus said "I have come that you might have life and life more abundant." Forget that Jesus said, "Greater works you will do!" Instead, because we have been famished a little morsel, crumb, or taste is all we expect, desire, and really want. Just enough to get us by from Sunday to Sunday. In the process we have dismissed and discarded authority, dominion, power, and overcoming.
We must realize that God does not feed people that are not hungry. In fact, Mary sang a song when she is told that she will give birth to Jesus that speaks to this . . . He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. Those that are hunger are filled. Those that are self sufficient become self reliant and end up empty. Jesus would later say . . . Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness! In other words, you are not blessed if you are not hungry. Remember . . . Jesus responds to those that are hungry with a miracle of multiplication. Right in the middle of a sermon He stops and deals with hunger! No hunger - no miracle! No hunger and we become satisfied with rations.
Our church will grow in proportion to our hunger. We will grow at the speed of hunger.
If we are full of hungry people, then and only then will we grow. If we are full of content people, then we will stagnate. If we are full, then we will become satisfied with rations. We cannot become content with a ration of salvations. A ration of impact. A ration of influence. A few scattered crumbs of presence. An occasional glimpse of glory. A once in a while move.
As I have stated, I don't think we are alone in being satisfied with famished. However, this body is our responsibility and just because it is common doesn't mean we have to or should accept it. Just because the cry for me has drowned out the cry for more in other places doesn't mean that can be or allowed that to be the case here!
Let me see if I can show you this practice of becoming friends with famine and reveling in rations in Scripture.
Text: 1 Kings 17:5-15
Elijah obeyed God’s orders. He went and camped in the Kerith canyon on the other side of the Jordan. And sure enough, ravens brought him his meals, both breakfast and supper, and he drank from the brook. Eventually the brook dried up because of the drought. Then God spoke to him: “Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you.” So he got up and went to Zarephath. As he came to the entrance of the village he met a woman, a widow, gathering firewood. He asked her, “Please, would you bring me a little water in a jug? I need a drink.” As she went to get it, he called out, “And while you’re at it, would you bring me something to eat?” She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.’” And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!