Herald Journal Columns
March 8, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Are you starving on a full stomach?

By Rev. Robert Hellmann
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church,

Stig Skaar, a Norwegian fisherman, knew something was wrong by looking at the fish.

It was long and skinny and weighed only a few pounds. A typical cod of that size usually weighed about 22 pounds.

He soon discovered the reason. Inside the fish’s stomach was an empty, intact soda can. The fish was starving because there was no room in its stomach for real food.

Are you like this unfortunate fish – spiritually, that is?

Is your heart so full of the things of this world that God and his Word have been pushed out or kept out?

Are you starving spiritually because you have substituted other things for faith in Christ?

People try lots of different substitutes for Christ. Work, household chores, school, and many other things in the daily routine of life are necessary, but they do not fill our need to be connected to God.

Sleazy entertainment appeals to lust, but ends up propelling us farther away from God. Greed and the lust for power drive us toward destruction. Drugs and alcohol numb the pain of failure.

Man-made religion leads nowhere and leaves us still in our sins and doomed before God. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

Where can we fill our spiritual hunger with real spiritual food? The Lenten season gives us a golden opportunity to find such food.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

Jesus, the sinless and eternal Son of God, came to drink the cup of suffering for our sins to the last drop.

Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9 a.m. on the first Good Friday. From noon to 3 p.m., darkness covered the land.

Especially during this time of darkness, the heavenly Father punished Jesus for the sins of all people, leading Jesus to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Shortly after that, Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” and died. (John 19:30)

With these words, Jesus assured us that all the sins of the world, including ours, were paid for by his suffering and death.

Jesus is genuine spiritual food for our souls. He said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35)

By faith in Jesus, we are at peace with God, and our sins are forgiven. We have the sure hope of eternal life. We are free from slavery to sin and death. We are members of God’s family.

So don’t be fooled into filling up your heart with the fake spiritual food that this world tries to offer us. Reject such worthless food.

Instead, fill up with the genuine spiritual food that Jesus offers to all.

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