Working on Our Appetites

appetizers

I heard this word at two specific times yesterday.  The first time I heard it was while I was driving into work and thinking about an old post I wrote and shared several years ago called The Lost Sheep.

You can read it HERE. It’s about this time when I was living back in North Carolina and came across a lost sheep standing by himself on the side of the road.  The Lord used that strange, out of the ordinary scene as a teaching moment. I was convicted of all the times I miss pursuing and engaging the lost sheep, to take care of them, direct them, and feed them.

I thought about the verses I had originally referenced in that post.

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs,” he told him.  A second time he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”

“Shepherd my sheep,” he told him.

 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.   John 21: 15-17

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I then thought about the group of host team volunteers I get to serve with every Sunday morning.  I thought about how they have this beautiful opportunity to feed sheep who walk up the sidewalks and through the doors of Rock Bridge Community Church.  I thought about how Jesus is our perfect example of how to tend and feed sheep too.  When he first appeared to his disciples that morning on the beach, he didn’t launch into a lecture of all the ways they had failed.  No, instead, He loved them and served them.  He met their needs (gave them the fish) and then said “Come and have breakfast.”

Jesus is always giving us examples of how to be the church.

I then thought about how the first impression team, by shaking hands and being friendly and helpful really is the appetizer of even more to come.  It’s a crucial taste of love that whets the appetite and opens hearts. Welcome! There are more good and tasty courses still yet to come.  

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The next time I heard the word appetizer yesterday morning was during the sermon.  Our pastor is doing a series called Heaven & Earth. One of things yesterday’s message talked about was how heaven is for thirsty people.  “Heaven is for people whose thirst for God ‘wins” against the thirst for the world and all it offers.”  One of the takeaways  from the message was that we need to “move past the appetizer” when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.  We need to experience, for ourselves, the goodness of God.  We need to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. It’s a great message series and you can watch Part 1 and 2 HERE.

Moving past the appetizer requires that we spend time getting know the One who feeds us.

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This morning I thought again about appetizers.  I thought about the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus taught his disciples that, “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6   I love how the Message version phrases this verse. “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”

Lord, thank you for all the ways you whet our appetites!  But help us to not stop there today. Help us to seek out and be filled by the more you are offering each of us. 

“All eyes look to You,
and You give them their food at the proper time.
You open Your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”  Psalm 145: 15-16

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