the things you learn by missing lunch

Sundays are generally very busy days for me anymore. I’m not sure why, but it’s just the way things have stacked up lately. Sunday is also the day I gather around the Lord with a handful of other believers for fellowship. Normally we meet late in the day, around three or four o’clock. And it’s also customary for us to share a meal together when we meet. So on Sundays, meal times for the Lawson family are nine-ish for breakfast, noon-ish for lunch, and then four-ish for the Lord’s Supper with the church.

Only problem is that on my busy Sundays I sometimes miss lunch, which has been the case for the past two weeks. And if you know me you know that missing a meal is no small thing. So today I remarked to my wife, “Honey, I’m noticing an alarming trend that on Sundays I have a tendency to miss lunch. Therefore by the time the meeting rolls around, I’m starving!” (Good thing for me we usually eat pretty well at these get-togethers.)

Earlier today I was thinking about this very thing, and it gave me some perspective spiritually. It is good for me to come to the gathering spiritually hungry, I mean hungry to the point that every other desire is crowded out and all that matters is, “I need to eat!” (You have probably noticed in your own life that if you get hungry enough, your survival instincts begin to kick in, and all that matters is that you must find something to eat. Everything else takes a backseat.)

When we gather together in the assembly, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is our spiritual food. Together we “break bread” (the bread of Life, that is) and partake of Him who is our life. So it is good for me to come to the gathering so desparate for the Lord Jesus that nothing matters except partaking of Him. For there in the gathering of the church I find Him in His fullness, and I am able to touch the Lord in a fuller, deeper way than I am able to on my own.

At the same time, though, I have found personally that my own experience of Christ has led to a paradox of sorts, creating in me not only an intense hunger for the Lord Jesus but also an overwhelming satisfaction as well. So even as I come to the gathering hungry and wanting to receive of the Lord, I also come full and overflowing, saturated in the riches of Christ that I have been blessed to search out in my own relationship with the Lord throughout the week. Then from the overflow of my heart I am able to feed my brothers and sisters as well as receive from them. I am not only a taker but a giver; not only a reciever but a supplier of life as well.

I have a sneaking suspicion (actually, I am strongly convinced) that this is God’s intention for us when we gather together as His Body: That each member would come both desperately hungry for Christ and yet full and satisfied by Him all at the same time, so that there might be a feasting among us when we gather together… a partaking of His riches in the saints and a display of His fullness through His Body fully functioning.

The further I go down this road of “organic” church life (please forgive my use of that term-I for one believe it’s being tossed around way too much these days), the more I see that this way of living and gathering together only “works” as each member of the Body stays in direct and living touch with the Head of the Body who is Christ. Unless we all are in relentless pursuit of the Lord Jesus, knowing Him, learning Him, daily exploring Him… then there will be no life among us when we gather. Nothing so reveals the spiritual condition of a person or group of people than when you sit them down in a living room without a pastor, worship leader, or the like and say, “Here, have your own meeting!” Then it will be found out whether or not those saints have really been equipped to minister life to one another, and whether or not their life in the Lord is counting for much at all.

Well then, these are my thoughts coming to the close of this day. Hopefully they can be of some benefit to you. Grace and peace to us all in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Builder of His church!

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About Joshua

Writer, husband, father, friend. View all posts by Joshua

8 responses to “the things you learn by missing lunch

  • brotherjohnny

    Yes, it seems to me that the longer I go on in the Lord, the more mysterious He is to me. He’s not *totally* ‘enigmatic’, as He is also emblematic. As the old Lewis line goes,
    “…not safe, but good”.

  • Bonnie Sasher

    Now that’s CHURCH! This is the model we should all have.

  • Phil Vazquez

    i really like this. yet honestly my only question is why does the pastor take away from this. maybe (as i see it) it’s more the pastor as we have seen and come to know it… that gets in the way. my only struggle is because it seems in the bible that “He gave to the church pastors.” merely a function, but not to be little popes or Christ’s, but given as a function within the body… no more, no less than another function… the eye can’t say to the nose i have no need of thee… etc etc. yet still we give those parts which are not seen more glory… (i wonder where he was going with that one… yikes).

    i don’t know… is it possible to be organic and to feast upon Christ with a person who functions as a pastor? or prophet? or evangelist etc etc.?

    please know that when i post/reply to these things it’s not to be a nag, i really enjoy the convo with you… and appreciate the freedom knowing that you love me enough to allow me to be honest with my many “?’s”.

    and brother… i do love you.

    • lawdawg23

      Hey bro. You asked, ” is it possible to be organic and to feast upon Christ with a person who functions as a pastor? or prophet? or evangelist etc etc?”

      Of course it is. In fact, these brothers and sisters have been given by the Lord as gifts to His church for that very purpose, to equip the saints to function together and do the work of the ministry.

      I could approach this from a few different angles, but I’m not sure how fruitful either of them would be in this case. Perhaps you don’t fully understand my “position” on this matter, but you do know my heart. Never in a million years would I desire to be contentious about this. But I have my convictions, nonetheless, based upon both scripture and experience. I believe the modern-day pastoral office is a hindrance rather than a help to the functioning of the Body of Christ, and thus, to the fulfillment of God’s purpose.

      To be fair, though, this is still quite a broad generalization on my part. Brother Johnny, for instance, who commented above, has told me that he knows of a “pastor” who does more to aid the functioning of the body of which he is a part than anyone he’d ever seen before. (Correct me if I’m mixing you up with someone else, Johnny.)

      I can only tell you what I’ve seen in my own experience and what I believe the scriptures show. We could talk more about this, if you’d ever answer your phone, that is. 🙂

      As always, though, thanks for the challenge.

  • j kreider

    A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, and to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 🙂 prov 27.7

  • Phil

    I run around a lot, phone is hard for me… i want to talk soon though…

    until then…

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • --j

    starvation is dangerous for a body. physical or spiritual. And I think it is not healthy to starve ourselves in order to be hungry for Him.
    However, not all hunger comes from starvation. I think of a training athelete. He/she is using enormous amounts of calories and therefore consumes and needs more! Just as a functioning and active church, should hunger for Him because they are working for him.

    on a more practical note, i have found that 1 meeting a week is almost never enough for our groups. what has been your experience?

    • lawdawg23

      Certainly, bro. Church life is far more than a once-a-week meeting. It is a daily living together as the body of Christ. I’d say a good test of the spiritual health of any assembly is to quit having meetings for a while. Do the members all still share a life together? If so then I would say there is genuine community there.

      Feel free to shoot me an email: j_lawdawg23@hotmail.com. I would love to hear more about yourself and the brothers and sisters with whom you fellowship.

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