Summary: 3rd in this series. An ongoing study of Mt 25. Concept borrowed from the work of Tim Cook, a fellow preacher.

Intro: Today seemed like the day to talk about competitive eating contests. Did you know there are 2 major leagues, devoted to eating as much as possible in a short amount of time? There’s the International Federation of Competitive Eaters, also known as Major League Eating. They sponsor some 80 contests a year. And then there’s the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters. They feature “picnic-style” rules. The 4th of July hot dog eating contest at Coney Island is attended by more than 60,000 spectators The “athletes” who compete in these contests make a living of this. They train, including strengthening the jaw muscles so that their bite force is about the same as a German shepherd.

The current #1 ranked competitor is Joey Chestnut of San Jose. He holds records for 37different foods right now, including his last hot dog record: 69 Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes.

In case you have aspirations of setting a new record, here are a few of the current ones, all set within the past 10 years:

Grits 21 lbs - 10 minutes – by a guy who definitely has “true grit”

Cow Brains 17.7 pounds - 15 minutes – smart!

Chicken Nuggets 80 - 5 Minutes – I wonder if she got McSick?

Bacon 182 Strips - 5 Minutes – by some guy who really made a pig of himself!

It’s kind of fun to glimpse at an extreme now and then. That is extreme, isn’t it?

Still, as far as I know, we live in the only country where a waiter or waitress will approach your table, and say to you, “Are you finished, or are you still working on that?” What do you say, “No, I’m just taking a break from this work here. After I rest up a bit and get my strength back up, I’ll finish.” Where else do we sit down to a meal that’s more than we can finish and call it “working”?

This whole subject of hunger is challenging, because your version of hunger may sound a whole lot different than someone else’s.

On an average day, as a nation, we’re spending more than 50X more on wasted food and weight loss efforts than to help alleviate world hunger.

When we were kids, our moms would tell us to clean off our plates because of those starving children – where were they – India? Africa? China? Was Mom right? Whatever happened to those kids? If it’s as bad as some organizations make it sound, or as bad as the pictures they flash in front of us, how can any of us sit down to lunch today with a clear conscience?

There are a lot of different perspectives on hunger. So, first thing this morning, as we talk about the hungry, I want to get a…

1. A Biblical Perspective of Hunger

Let’s get a handle on what we mean when we talk about “hunger.”

Hunger is not the anguish you experience because you’re on a diet and trying to lose a few pounds.

Hunger is not the peril you experience daily if you are a teenager who hasn’t eaten for an hour.

Hunger is not the threat of having to go out to eat because you haven’t gone grocery shopping yet.

Hunger is not the absence of the specific brand of cereal you were looking for on the store shelf.

Hunger is not going by Chick-Fil-A and suddenly remembering they close on Sundays.

No, what we’re describing there is called “hungry.” You and I get hungry, every day! That’s normal, and healthy, and actually something that God built into every human to help us.

When you were a baby, your hungry alarm would go off – a signal from your body that you needed nourishment. Without even understanding it, you conveyed this to your parents, who then would feed you. Then, you’d be OK until you were hungry again, and you’d let your parents know about it again – and this never ended.

So, hungry is a good thing. It’s from God! Without it, we would most likely not feed ourselves and we’d die.

Chew on this for a minute: Being hungry, in some form, may even be a feature of Heaven. There’s a marriage supper of the Lamb, and a Tree of Life that bears fruit 12X a year. Being hungry, and satisfying it, is a good thing.

Connected to work

What helps you get through a long work day? What keeps you from just quitting? There’s this cheerleading section to help you. It’s called being hungry!

Proverbs 16:26

A worker's appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on.

Hungry can remind us why we’re working. In fact, Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica…

2 Thessalonians 3:10b-12

…we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.

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