Stay Hungry My Friends
by Dale Reeves
There has been much discussion recently about some of the G.O.A.T.s (“Greatest of All Time”) athletes in professional sports. Names such as Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Muhammad Ali, and Simone Biles rise to the top, with Simone getting ready to defend her five Olympic medals from the 2016 Rio Games as she prepares for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo later this month. Experts say that all other female Olympic gymnasts are just vying for who will get the silver and bronze medals after Simone takes the gold. She has dominated women’s gymnastics.
When we think about someone else who has obliterated the competition time after time, a certain guy comes to mind who has won a contest fourteen out of the last fifteen years in a national battle that takes place every July 4th. I’m talking about Joey Chestnut, of course. Just a few weeks ago in Coney Island, New York, defending world champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut broke his own record by devouring 76 hot dogs and buns in just ten minutes during Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. His closest competitor this year, Geoffrey Esper, managed to down only 50 hot dogs in the 10-minute time limit. That’s a dominating performance. Some have called Joey the “GOAT of Gluttony.”
According to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, legend has it that the first contest of this kind was held on July 4, 1916, as four immigrants competed to show how patriotic they were by eating hot dogs at Nathan’s stand in Coney Island. In order to hoist the Mustard Belt for the fourteenth time, Joey has perfected his legendary appetite by consuming two hot dogs at a time, dunking the buns in water, then eating them at a ridiculous pace. According to one estimate, Chestnut’s 76 hot dogs and buns amounted to 20,520 calories, 1,102 grams of fat, 1,900 milligrams of cholesterol, and 50,160 milligrams of sodium. The man is simply an eating machine! Joey’s display may have actually taken away your appetite for whatever you were fixing on the grill on July 4. You might say, “Only in America would we celebrate this kind of gluttony,” and you would be right!
You Are What You Eat
There are numerous restaurant slogans that strive to get our attention (and our money) through advertising every day. Things like . . .
What you crave
We have the meats!
Come hungry, leave happy
Food with integrity
When you think about your appetite for spiritual food, what slogan would you use to honestly describe your current eating habits?
Can’t wait to get to the buffet!
Come hungry, leave satisfied
A once-a-month-meal is the deal
No thanks, I’m fasting!
Last week in Sunday’s teaching, Brad Wilson talked about how critical it is for the followers of Christ to be digesting God’s Word on a daily basis. We hear this all the time in church, but do we really believe it—and do we practice it? In a previous blog some time ago, I wrote about our need to not only read the Bible on a regular basis, but also to meditate on it. When God told Joshua to mediate on his Word (Joshua 1:8, 9), he used the Hebrew word “hagah,” which can be translated, “roar,” “growl,” “groan,” or “meditate.” It carries with it the idea of growling like a lion licking his lips over his prey. Have you ever been so intense in your time of reading and studying God’s Word that you actually started groaning aloud? You couldn’t wait to get a taste of what God was going to speak to you!
Joey Chestnut has said, “I didn’t just eat hot dogs. I studied how the food went into your system and how it would be digested.” What if we approached our reading of God’s Word in the same way, and read it for the way it goes into our system (our minds and hearts), and the way in which it transforms us?
Fasting or Feasting?
Just this week, our leadership sent out a church assessment survey to the members of Christ’s Church. We encouraged the members of the body of Christ to be honest in their answers, in seeking to help us know how we could best help meet their needs in their spiritual journey. One of the questions in the assessment deals with how strongly one agrees or disagrees with the statement, “I believe the Bible has authority over what I say and do.” Another multiple-choice question simply asks, “Realistically, how often do you use the Bible?”
Be honest with yourself. Are you more consumed these days with true or fake news in the media, trending posts on social media outlets, spending hours scrolling through YouTube and TikTok videos, or spending quality time alone with the Lord by reading his Word and meditating on it? One habit leads to more fear and crippling anxiety, the other habit leads to peace. Are you content to just snack on a few appetizers, or warm up some leftovers from your spiritual journey in the past; or do you look forward to fresh bread and meat each time you get to sit down with Jesus at the feast he has prepared for you?
The psalmist declares, “You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing” (Psalm 23:5, The Message).
I’m looking forward to this event that will take place, not in Coney Island, but in Heaven, as described in Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. . . . These are true words that come from God” (NLT).
We won’t be worshiping a GOAT, but rather the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And somehow I don’t think we’ll be eating Nathan’s Hot Dogs there!