After five days of camping, hiking, and high ropes courses in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, the first thing I wanted to do was take a long, steamy shower. The second thing I wanted to do was eat. I was so incredibly hungry. Despite eating three meals a day, I still felt underfed and unsatisfied.
That was not my first time to feel empty even though I had been fed. Years earlier, after graduating from college, I planned to go to a well-respected university to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. My career plans made perfect sense to me and to everyone around me. But during the summer after graduation, I had the unmistakable feeling that the plans I had made for my life were not right for me.
I could not ignore those vocational hunger pangs. Two years later, I accepted a call to ministry, enrolled in seminary, and my hunger finally abated. As I practiced public prayer, crafted sermons, visited hospitals, and imagined possibilities in ministry, I felt like I was feeding my soul.
Hunger is a basic human drive. So as Jesus searches for ways to tell us who he is and what he does for us, he identifies himself as the bread of life. Through Christ, we can be full and satisfied. Substitutes never work. My lack of vocational fulfillment produced a hunger that led me into a satisfying call to ministry. Professional ministry may not be in your future, but my guess is there’s a hunger in you, too.
This week, pay attention to what you are doing when your soul feels either hungry or satisfied. What do you notice?
Lord Jesus, be my bread of life and feed me until I want no more. Amen