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“You have to eat something before you leave for school!”

“I’m not hungry, Mom.”

“Just a bowl of cereal. Please.”

I slouched down on the stool and bent over the bowl, my faced hidden by the curtain of my long hair. I forced down three or four mouthfuls and then hurried away to catch my ride.

Looking back to those teenage years, I’m grateful for my mother’s patience with me. I truly didn’t have an appetite for breakfast. Though breakfast now is one of my favorite meals of the day, my adolescent meal clock was wired differently back then.

Lots of things can cause us to lose our appetite: illness, stress, worry, even an odor, especially if its coming from the food in front of us. We turn up our nose and walk away or else suffer in silence, picking aimlessly at the food in front of us or rearranging it on our plate hoping no one notices.

Sometimes it’s the atmosphere… the people we are with. Even the finest spread can turn our stomachs if we are surrounded by unpleasant conversations and quarrelsome companions.

But when we’re hungry, really hungry, we tend to not be as picky. I remember coming home from school during those teenage years and searching for anything in the cupboard or refrigerator to tide me over until the dinner hour. My mother would watch in amazement as I downed an entire can of peaches straight from the can!

Our Lord knew when His people were hungry, really hungry. He sent them manna, something they didn’t work for, a pure gift (Exodus 16). And after His resurrection, our Lord Jesus provided a fish breakfast for the disciples who had been fishing all night (John 21). They had caught a huge number of fish, thanks to the Lord’s involvement, but they were fed by what was already cooking on the fire, fish that came directly from their Savior.

We are fed by what we ourselves grow or buy. We take credit for that food that comes from our own efforts, our own hard work. And yet, when we are humble enough to admit it, we know it is a gift from our Lord.

The Israelites recognized that no one else but God could have provided the manna they ate for forty years. There are unexplainable gifts and blessings from the Lord that we also cannot claim. I know I’ve had my own “manna from heaven” experiences that have turned my eyes to His Word and His generosity. Because when I do try to take credit, my explanations are simply weak and foolish, self-serving and hollow.

There’s a different kind of food we often hear of: food for thought. This is mental nourishment. It is something that’s not a passing idea. It calls for serious consideration.

This is the food that the Scriptures talk about. We are told to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). We are also told we truly live when we feast on “every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Jesus talked about this food often. He said He was the bread of life that satisfies our hunger (John 6:35). He told us that this food lasts forever (John 6:27).

So what do we do with this kind of food? This abundant gift from our Lord? Some consider it merely as a topic of discussion, mental stimulation, something to think about. But if that is all we as leaders do with this banquet set before us, only sampling, never really enjoying, then we’re missing out on a wonderful taste sensation.

This food deserves serious consideration. This food is worthy of more than a small bite. Our Lord Jesus invites us to a full banquet of His Word to learn from and grow stronger in our faith.

But if we only take large portions of this food for ourselves, we miss out on the action. Jesus said that doing the will of His Father was His food (John 4:34) That is another entire menu. That is even more food for thought.

As leaders we are called to treat this food as the best meal ever by inviting others to the banquet. We make sure we are feeding on the goodness of His Word and then use that Word to guide everything we do. And finally we remember to give thanks to our Lord Jesus, the source of this wonderful food, this “manna from heaven.”

Feed your leadership with our Lead Like Jesus Revisited 6-Week study Guide.

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