In May of 1846, 187 men, women, and children left from Missouri in a wagon train headed to California. There was nothing exceptional about the group or this journey and we would have never known about them had they not made the decision to try a shortcut. The “Hastings Cutoff,” as it was known, was indeed a shorter route to their destination but it had only been tried on horseback. No wagon had ever made the journey. This group, now known as “The Donner Party,” would attempt it, but they would fail.
This group is famous because of allegations of cannibalism that occurred within the group while waiting for rescue. We find the thought nauseating and disgusting. We like to believe that, no matter what, we would never do such a thing. It would be more accurate to say, “I have not been that hungry yet” than to say “I would never eat that.” The survivors were high in the Sierra Madre for three months with no food at all.
I have heard people make the observation that, “I wasn’t fed at church today.” I assume they mean that they didn’t learn anything useful or that they didn’t feel the presence of God through their worship. I also have heard the charge that, “I don’t like doing it this way” or “I don’t like that version of the Bible” or “I don’t like these songs” and even, “I don’t like how the minister uses that tiny computer for his sermons.” I compare this to Allie coming to me complaining that she is hungry. And when I point out the different option to eat, she says, “I don’t like that” or “I don’t want that.” My response is always the same. Then you must not be hungry.
You know who doesn’t like what is spread on God’s table? The one that isn’t hungry. The one seeking self satisfaction and validation. Who wants to pick and choose the ways they will worship? That one that if they aren’t the center of attention, they aren’t happy. The one that doesn’t think they need God. They are full…, full of themselves that is.
In Matthew 5:6, Jesus commends the one that “hungers and thirsts” for righteousness. Think Donner Party hungry. Desperate. Without pride or will. With one goal and one goal only, to be fed. To eat readily from whatever it is that God lays on the table. To accept whatever condition, correction, or assignment He throws at us without hesitation. When we come to church and worship that way, and take in the sermon that way, according to Jesus, we will leave filled and content. So the next time you leave still hungry and discontent, ask yourself, “Whose fault is it really?”