I like to eat. My wife is a good cook, and I’ve also had the privilege of eating some pretty impressive food – both around town, and in a few stops around the world. However, I cannot enjoy eating without limits: Not only do I get full after a while, but eating everything that I want would be decidedly unhealthy.
So, I’ve developed a philosophy: Since we need to eat, we may as well eat the best food that we can.
This doesn’t mean dining on expensive food all of the time, or expecting my wife to prepare whatever meal that I demand. It just means that wasting finite meal opportunities on food that I don’t like is kind of pointless. If I would like onion rings instead of fries, why gnaw on potatoes when I can have something deep-fried? (Well, at least once in a while – my cholesterol won’t let me do that all the time.)
Yes, sometimes, we don’t have a choice, and have to take whatever is available (like on a long trip, where the tollway doesn’t have a lot of options, or when in a day-long business meeting). Other times, my favorite foods are impractical or too expensive. However, when there is a choice, why not eat food that you like, especially if it is [reasonably] healthy?
As clever as I may have thought myself to be, though, God shared the following to the prophet Isaiah many centuries ago:
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
Isaiah 55:2 NLT
Apparently, Isaiah’s audience was filling up on things that weren’t worthwhile. I don’t know all of the details, but this problem continues today. Think about it: What do we fill up on that doesn’t satisfy? Scrolling through our news feed doesn’t really make us better when we’re done. While TV, movies, and YouTube videos can entertain and distract us for a little while (and occasionally educate us), we’re not better off when entertainment is all that we consume.
Even larger-scale efforts don’t fill up the void that we each share inside of ourselves. Fame, power, and money look appealing, but don’t automatically give us real purpose, genuine relationships, or peace with God.
So, what do we do? The great thing in this verse is that God provides the answer! “Listen to me”, He says, “and you will eat what is good.” If we want to fill up on what is best for us – not just healthy, but rewarding, too – we should listen to God.
While reading the Bible and listening for God’s direction in our lives is a great start to this, I’m pretty sure that “listening” isn’t limited to just sitting through a sermon. Listening is just the first step, followed by action.
Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
Luke 11:28 NLT
When God shows us better choices to fill up on, we would still be missing out if we didn’t partake of them. And, we only get so much time in a day, week, month, or lifetime, so we may as well follow a path that will deliver maximum benefits: both to us, and to others.
So, if you feel a little empty today, like the things that you’ve been chasing aren’t really satisfying you, sit down and read some from God’s word (the Bible), and see if following God’s guidance doesn’t hit the spot. And, we could all probably cut back on time spent doing things that don’t really satisfy.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.