Having a baby reminds you of something that we all know but we rarely spend much time thinking about – our bodies are wired to crave food. As a new parent can attest, no one needs to teach a child how to be hungry or how to express their discomfort when that hunger goes unsatisfied. God graciously created us so that even before we could do much of anything at all, we desire the fuel we need in order to keep on functioning. Without it and without the ability of babies to express their state of need, parenting as well as surviving infancy would be much more difficult.
Not only do babies recognize their need for food even before they can articulate that the desire for it exists, they also consume it on a fairly regular pattern. Newborns seemingly consume it around the clock and new mothers can feel like all they do is feed the baby, change the baby, only to put the baby to sleep and start the cycle over again. As they grow the feeding pattern remains fairly consistent. There may be longer lengths of time between meals, but babies still eat at fairly regular and predictable intervals. And they eat whenever they need to. They don’t push aside a feeding because they are busy or because they don’t “feel like it.” Eating is a priority for them – they do it regularly, frequently and with an intensity that speaks to its importance. And on some days they eat even more often than normal because their bodies are getting ready to grow.
One may wonder why I’ve embarked upon such a long discussion of a child’s eating habits and it’s because I think that it can teach us a lot about how we are to approach the God’s Word. Christ said that His food was to do the will of the One who had sent Him (John 4:34). As Christians, we should desire to imitate Christ and therefore what fueled Him should also be what drives us. However, in order to do the will of God we have to know the will of God, and God’s will is most prominently revealed through His Word. Therefore, if we want to be fed through obedience as Christ was, we must banquet in the bounty of the Scriptures. We must feast on the truth of the Word of God so that we may grow and develop into the people He desires us to be.
Unfortunately, many people approach this task as many adults approach their meals. They are quick to grab some tidbit of Scripture as they rush out the door, much like they grab their breakfast to eat in the car. They take a “drive thru” approach to their study of Scripture, hurried to make it to the next activity or function. Unlike an infant, if they miss a “meal” their disdain is not quickly voiced and rectified; they are content to partake of Scripture on an ad hoc basis. Their “feeding” is not regular, frequent and prioritized. It is haphazard and scattered. They are content with morsels when they should be seeking a banquet.
It should come as no surprise when we approach Scripture this way and neglect to see the growth in the Christian life that we desire. After all, one of the reasons an infant grows more during the first year of life than they do at any other time is because they are constantly providing their bodies the fuel they need in order to mature. Without such nourishment, their growth would be halted and their bodies diminished. Similarly when we neglect to fuel our walk with God with the sustenance of Scripture, our growth will suffer as well.
Therefore, next time we hear the cries of a hungry baby or witness a toddler signaling their desire for more, may it remind us of how we should hunger for the food that fueled Jesus. Next time we’re tempted to remark on how fast a little one has grown, may we recognize that they did so because they frequently and consistently partook of food, and if we want to experience growth in our walk with God, we must similarly dine in His Truth. May the insatiable hunger of little ones drive engender a similar appetite for the God’s Holy Scripture, and may their hunger for food prompt us to dive deeper with more frequency and intensity into the riches of His Word.