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LUKE 24:41 | “HAVE YOU ANYTHING HERE TO EAT?”

“HAVE YOU ANYTHING HERE TO EAT?”

LUKE 24:41

OCTOBER 1, 2017

 

 

PREACHER FRED CRADDOCK SHARES THIS STORY FROM A SERMON CONTAINED IN HIS BOOK, THE CHERRY LOG SERMONS:

 

YEARS AGO, I TOOK PART IN A CONFERENCE AT CLEMSON UNIVERSITY IN SOUTH CAROLINA.  A CATHOLIC PRIEST AND I SHARED THE PLATFORM.

 

THE EVENING BEFORE I GAVE MY LECTURE, A YOUNG WOMAN BEGAN THE PROGRAM WITH A DEVOTIONAL.  I DIDN’T KNOW HER.

 

SHE WAS A YOUNG WOMAN, I WOULD SAY IN HER MID-TWENTIES.  SHE HAD PALE, BLONDE, STRAIGHT HAIR; SHE WAS THIN; SHE WORE NO MAKEUP, AND HAD A SOFT VOICE.

 

WHEN SHE GOT UP TO GIVE THE DEVOTIONAL, SHE HAD A YELLOW LEGAL PAD WITH HER AND I THOUGHT, ‘WELL, WE ARE HERE FOR THE NIGHT.’  EVERYBODY HAS ONE SERMON.

 

HER VOICE WAS LOW, BUT I AM SURE SHE WAS SPEAKING ANOTHER LANGUAGE.  AND SHE SPOKE IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE, AND THEN IN ANOTHER, AND THEN IN YET ANOTHER LANGUAGE.

 

I DO NOT KNOW HOW MANY LANGUAGES; I DID NOT KEEP COUNT.  BUT WHAT SHE WAS DOING WAS SAYING ONE THING IN THE MAJOR LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD.

 

WHEN SHE GOT TO GERMAN, I THOUGHT I KNEW WHAT SHE SAID.  WHEN SHE GOT TO FRENCH, I WAS EVEN MORE CONFIDENT THAT I KNEW WHAT SHE SAID.

 

I SUPPOSE SHE SAID THIS ONE THING SIXTY OR SEVENTY TIMES IN SIXTY OR SEVENTY LANGUAGES.  IT WAS ONE SENTENCE, AND THE LAST TIME SHE SPOKE IT, SHE SPOKE IT IN ENGLISH.

 

SHE SAID, “MOMMY, I’M HUNGRY.”

 

I THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT SHE SAID ALL THE WAY HOME THAT NIGHT.

 

THE FIRST HIGHWAY BILLBOARD I SAW GOING INTO THE NORTH SIDE OF ATLANTA, SAID THIS: ‘ALL YOU CAN EAT – $5.99.’  BUT IN MY HEAD WAS ‘MOMMY, I’M HUNGRY.’”

 

I HAVE A SIMILAR STORY.  I WAS AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN DALLAS, TX.  AT THE TIME I WAS A PCUSA MINISTER SERVING A CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

 

I HAD JUST HEARD A LENGTHY PRESENTATION FROM THE DENOMINATION’S MISSIONS PROGRAM; WHERE NUMEROUS MISSIONARIES SPOKE, EACH ABOUT THEIR OWN FOREIGN ASSIGNMENT; FROM VARIOUS PLACES AROUND THE WORLD; BUT IN THE END, ALMOST ALL THEIR PRESENTATIONS COULD BE SUMMED UP IN TWO WORDS.

 

THE TWO GREATEST NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE WHOM THEY WERE SERVING: FOOD AND CLEAN WATER.

 

FROM ALL THE WORK THEY WERE DOING, FROM THE VARIED NATURE OF THEIR WORK: PREACHING, TEACHING, AGRICULTURAL SUPPORT, MEDICAL MISSIONARIES, CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMS, WHATEVER AREA OF EXPERTISE THEY WERE PROVIDING; IT ALL STILL BOILED DOWN TO THE NEED FOR FOOD AND CLEAN WATER.

 

I LEFT THE PRESENTATION HALL, AND WALKED DOWN THE STREET TO THE HOTEL IN WHICH I WAS STAYING, BUT AS IT WAS LATE, AND I WAS HUNGRY, I STOPPED OFF AT A MCDONALDS ADJACENT TO MY HOTEL.

 

AS I SAT EATING MY FOOD I NOTICED TWO TWENTY SOMETHING MALES, THEIR TRAYS STACKED WITH CHEESEBURGERS – I’D SAY TWENTY OR MORE EACH.

 

THEY WERE HAVING A CONTEST TO SEE WHICH OF THEM COULD EAT THE MOST HAMBURGERS WITHOUT STOPPING.  IT WAS A PRETTY EVEN MATCH.

 

WHAT STRUCK ME, OF COURSE, IS NOW OBVIOUS TO YOU: THE OVERWHELMING NEED IN THE WORLD FOR FOOD AND CLEAN WATER AMONG THE WORLD’S POOR, JUXTAPOSED, WITH THE GLUTTONY OF THE WORLD’S PRIVILEGED.

 

I DON’T HOLD IT AGAINST THESE TWO YOUNG MEN, THEY WERE BASICALLY KIDS; AND IT WASN’T REALLY ABOUT THE TWO OF THEM, BUT WHAT THEY REPRESENTED IN MY HEAD.

 

I’M NOT SHARING THIS STORY TO MAKE US FEEL GUILTY; I’M SHARING IT AS A WAY OF HIGHLIGHTING THE ABSURDITY OF THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE:

 

A WORLD OF HUNGER AND EXCESS, DEPRIVATION AND WASTE, A WORLD WHERE PEOPLE ARE DYING EVERY DAY, SOME FROM EATING TOO MUCH, OTHERS FROM EATING TOO LITTLE.

 

IT ISN’T FAIR, AND IT ISN’T PRETTY.  BUT IT IS REAL.  EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, IT IS REAL, BECAUSE HUNGER IS REAL.

HUNGER IS PART AND PARCEL OF WHAT IT IS TO BE HUMAN.

 

NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU EAT AT ANY GIVEN TIME, IN ANY ONE SITTING, YOU WILL INVARIABLY BE HUNGRY AGAIN.

 

NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU GET AT FASTING AND PRAYING, AT LETTING GO OF THE MATERIAL, AND EMBRACING THE SPIRITUAL, YOU WILL BE HUNGRY AGAIN.

 

BECAUSE HUNGER IS A FACT OF LIFE.  HUNGER IS THE LAW OF NATURE.  HUNGER IS PART AND PARCEL OF WHAT IT IS TO BE HUMAN.

 

“MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE,” JESUS REFUTES THE TEMPTER, BUT HE DOESN’T LIVE LONG WITHOUT EITHER.

 

WHICH IS WHY, I THINK, LUKE INCLUDES THIS STRANGE STORY OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION APPEARANCE; THE ONE WHICH WE READ A MOMENT AGO.

 

THE RISEN CHRIST APPEARS TO HIS DISCIPLES, AND WHILE THEY ARE BUSY INSPECTING THE HOLES IN HIS HANDS AND HIS FEET, HE ASKS THEM THIS VERY HUMAN QUESTION: “HAVE YOU ANYTHING HERE TO EAT?”

 

AFTER ALL HE’S BEEN THROUGH IN THE LAST THREE DAYS, WHAT WITH BEING TRIED, BEATEN, CRUCIFIED, DEAD AND BURIED, AND THEN RESURRECTED, AND MAKING HIS WAY BACK TO THEM, JESUS IS HUNGRY.

 

“HAVE YOU ANYTHING HERE TO EAT?” AND THEY BRING HIM SOME BROILED FISH.

 

I LOVE THIS DETAIL IN THIS STORY BECAUSE IT IS THERE TO IMPRESS UPON US THAT JESUS IS NO GHOST.  HE IS REAL.  HE IS RISEN.  HE IS EMBODIED.  HE IS HUNGRY.

 

OUR JESUS IS STILL A MAN, AND AS SUCH, HE IS HUNGRY, BECAUSE HUNGER IS PART AND PARCEL OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN.

 

YEARS AGO, KAREN AND I ATTENDED AN EXHIBIT AT AN ART MUSEUM IN CHATTANOOGA, TN.  THE EXHIBIT WAS ENTITLED: THE LAST SUPPER.

 

WHAT IT WAS, WAS A COLLECTION OF WHITE ENAMELED PLATES, ON WHICH THE ARTIST HAD SOMEWHAT CRUDELY, PLAINLY, PAINTED DIFFERENT GROUPINGS OF FOODS.

 

ON ONE, FRIED CHICKEN, MASHED POTATOES, COLLARD GREENS, AND A SLICE OF APPLE PIE.  ON ANOTHER, A STEAK, BAKED POTATO, AND SALAD.

 

PLATE AFTER PLATE, PAINTED, SOME WITH HEAPING PORTIONS OF VARIOUS FOODS, A COUPLE WITH ONLY ONE OR TWO ITEMS.  THE LAST SUPPER.

 

THE COLLECTION WAS A RENDERING OF THE LAST MEALS REQUESTED BY THOSE ON DEATH ROW, JUST BEFORE THEIR EXECUTIONS.  THEIR LAST SUPPERS.

 

PERHAPS, IT IS THE VERY LAST BIT OF GRACE GIVEN.  TO BE HUNGRY, IS TO BE HUMAN.

 

BUT BACK TO JESUS, AND HIS QUESTION, “HAVE YOU ANYTHING HERE TO EAT?”

 

KNOWING JESUS AS WE DO, WE CAN BE PRETTY CERTAIN AS TO WHAT JESUS’ NEXT QUESTION MIGHT BE.

 

“DOES YOUR NEIGHBOR HAVE ANYTHING TO EAT?”

 

AFTER ALL, THIS IS THE SAME JESUS WHO TAUGHT US TO PRAY, “GIVE US THIS DAY, OUR DAILY BREAD…”

 

NOT “MY DAILY BREAD,” BUT “OUR DAILY BREAD…”

 

THIS IS THE SAME JESUS WHO TOLD US THAT WHEN WE GIVE FOOD TO THE HUNGRY, OR DRINK TO THIRSTY, WE ARE TAKING CARE OF NO LESS A ONE THAN HIM.

 

“HAVE YOU ANYTHING HERE TO EAT?”  IT IS SUCH A MUNDANE, PROSAIC SORT OF QUESTION FOR THE RISEN CHRIST TO ASK, BUT IT WAS FOREMOST ON HIS MIND BACK THEN – AND I DO BELIEVE FOREMOST ON HIS MIND NOW;

 

BECAUSE THE SAD TRUTH IS, IF JESUS IS TO BE BELIEVED, HE IS STILL ASKING IT, EVERY DAY, ALL OVER THE WORLD, EVEN HERE IN KEY WEST.

 

“MOMMY, I’M HUNGRY.”  “HAVE YOU ANYTHING HERE TO EAT?”

 

WHAT’S THE VERY FIRST THING FIRST RESPONDERS BROUGHT INTO THE FLORIDA KEYS IN THE AFTERMATH OF IRMA?  FOOD AND WATER.  CASES OF BOTTLE WATER AND MRE’s – MEALS READY TO EAT.

 

IN THE INFREQUENTLY PUBLISHED KEY WEST CITIZEN OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS, WHAT HAVE MANY OF THE PICTURES AND ARTICLES BEEN ABOUT?

 

PICTURES OF PEOPLE GIVING OUT FOOD TO OTHERS; PICTURES OF PEOPLE PREPARING MEALS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS; ARTICLES ABOUT ORGANIZATIONS GIVING OUT FOOD; FREE MEALS FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN AFFECTED BY THE STORM.

 

TO BE HUNGRY IS TO BE HUMAN.

 

AND THE CHALLENGE OF HUNGRY NEIGHBORS IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY ANYTIME SOON, IF EVER, SO I ASK ALL OF US TO KEEP THIS IN MIND AS WE FIND WAYS TO FEED OUR NEIGHBORS.

 

AS LONG AS THERE IS ONE PERSON, ONE CHILD, ON THIS EARTH STILL ASKING, STILL HUNGRY, THEN SO IS OUR SAVIOR.

 

SO, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE THIS MORNING.  THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING TO THE CALL.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS, WHICH, IN PART, ARE USED TO FEED PEOPLE.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR 2 CENTS A MEAL DONATIONS; YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS OF CANNED GOODS FOR THE FISHES AND LOAVES FOOD PANTRY; YOUR MEALS TAKEN TO THOSE WHO ARE SICK.

 

REMEMBER – BOGO – BUY ONE GET ONE, CAN ALSO MEAN, BUY ONE GIVE ONE.

 

THANK YOU FOR WHENEVER, HOWEVER, IN WHATEVER WAY, YOU ARE HELPING TO ALLEVIATE HUNGER IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND BEYOND.

 

JESUS SAID, “IF YOU LOVE ME, FEED MY SHEEP.”

 

WELL, THAT’S WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO HERE; AND IF WE’RE HONEST, WITH ALL WE DO, WE KNOW THERE’S ALWAYS MORE WE CAN BE DOING.

 

AND ITS NOT JUST ABOUT MEETING THE DIRECT NEED OF FEEDING HUNGRY PEOPLE.

 

IT IS ABOUT EATING HEALTHIER FOR OURSELVES AND IN WAYS THAT ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE FOR ALL GOD’S CREATION.

 

IT IS ABOUT LIMITING FOOD WASTE, AND FINDING WAYS TO RECLAIM AND RECOVER FOOD, LIKE OUR PARTNERS AT STAR OF THE SEA DO IN THIS COMMUNITY EVERY DAY.

 

IT MEANS SUPPORTING FOOD POLICIES THAT MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE;

 

WORKING FOR POLICIES THAT SUPPORT FOOD SECURITY FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS AROUND THE WORLD;

 

AND WORKING FOR POLICIES THAT PAY A FAIR WAGE TO ALL WHO GROW, HARVEST, PACKAGE, AND PRODUCE THE FOOD WE EAT.

 

WE CAN ADOPT PERSONAL ACTIONS TO TREAD MORE LIGHTLY TO ENSURE A VIBRANT, FLOURISHING CREATION FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

 

IT IS ABOUT LIVING LOCALLY AND GLOBALLY.

 

AS DISCIPLES OF JESUS, WE COMMIT TO DAILY LIVING OUT OUR FAITH.

 

WE DO THIS INDIVIDUALLY, IN COMMUNITY WITH ONE ANOTHER, AND REALLY, WITH THE REST OF GOD’S CREATION.

 

PERHAPS, NOTHING BINDS US CLOSER TO CREATION, AND TO EACH OTHER, THAN OUR NEED FOR FOOD. TO BE HUNGRY IS TO BE HUMAN.

 

TO FEED OTHERS, IN EVERY SENSE OF THE TERM, IS TO LIVE OUT OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH.

 

AS WE BREAK BREAD TOGETHER, BOTH AT THE LORD’S TABLE AND AROUND FAMILY AND COMMUNITY TABLES, LET US ASK OURSELVES:

 

HOW ARE WE SHARING COMMUNION WITH GOD, WITH ONE ANOTHER, AND WITH ALL CREATION?

 

IT IS A QUESTION NOT ONLY TO BE PONDERED, BUT TO BE LIVED OUT IN FAITH, AS FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST.

 

“MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE,” JESUS SAYS, AND HE’S RIGHT, BUT WE DON’T LIVE LONG WITHOUT IT – AND JESUS GOT THAT TOO.

 

AS BELIEVERS, JESUS UNDERSTOOD THAT WE NEEDED THE WORD OF GOD TO LIVE ON, AS WELL; BOTH THE WORDS OF GOD AS HE TAUGHT THEM TO US; AND THE WORD OF GOD, AS HE EMBODIED IT IN HIMSELF.

 

MY FRIENDS, I INVITE US TO JOIN EACH OTHER AT THE TABLE OF CHRIST;

 

TO FEED ON THE BREAD WHICH CHRIST HAS BROKEN; TO LIVE BY GOD’S WORD;

AND TO REMEMBER, THAT TO LOVE HIM, IS TO FEED HIS SHEEP.

 

 

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