As we systematically unfold our newly refined vision, we’re spending time taking a good look at those things that will help us to measure our success in growing and in achieving the goals God has given us. One expectation God has for all of us is that we are able to feed ourselves from God’s Word and teach others to do likewise. But we too often hear evidence from people of the fact that we may have lost sight of that expectation.
Pastor James Emery White recently wrote: “How many times have you heard the line, ‘I just wasn’t being fed.’ ‘I just wasn’t growing there.'” Every pastor has heard some version of that sentiment. So, what’s all of that about? White says that there are two issues at the heart of the problem.
One is what he refers to as “spiritual narcissism,” which refers to a consumer mentality in the church that views the church as a feeding station that exists to keep the members stimulated and fed. The teaching at church is viewed as a food bar where we search for the things that appeal to us – things we like. The result is usually weight gain but little that produces energy for ministry and service.
The second issue is the distorted view of how “feeding” should take place. Though pastors are charged with the responsibility to teach, that doesn’t relieve individual believers of the responsibility to feed themselves and help feed others. We are called to share our lives as we encourage and urge one another toward spiritual maturity. Teaching in the church is needed, but we will not grow without one another and unless we take responsibility for ultimately feeding ourselves.
Colossians 3:16 states it clearly: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Does the church have some responsibility in feeding? Sure. We need one another in the church. But the ultimate responsibility lies with me and with you as individual believers. God has given us His Word, His Spirit and the charge to feed on His Word, allowing it to make itself at home in us.
So, the next time you are tempted to say, “I’m not being fed,” ask yourself what you’ve done to feed yourself, and, if you’re applying the truths you’ve already been fed. And ask, “What have I done to help feed the younger believers who really need it?”