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When I Bow to Flesh and Blood

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

“Tomato juice,” I told the flight attendant when she asked if I’d like something to drink on my short flight from Atlanta to Richmond. I had planned it out. Shortly after we’d become airborne, the flight attendant announced they’d soon be going throughout the cabin, offering complimentary drinks and pretzels for a snack.

This was my second flight of the day, and there had been no time during my short layover to stop for a bite to eat. I was hungry. My body was asking me to feed it.

In my mind, I knew I wasn’t really in a desperate situation. True hunger is something I’ve never experienced. I may have been hungry on that flight, but I knew even if I couldn’t get a bag of pretzels on the plane, I’d be able to find ready and easy access to food that would appease my grumbling stomach once we landed and I had a chance to step off the plane and into the airport terminal.

On the airplane, however, I tried to figure out what I could finagle from the flight attendant’s snack cart that would do the best job of filling some of the empty spaces and assuaging my desire for something to eat. So, tomato juice is what I asked for, confident the robust liquid would serve me better than my standard club soda.

“Tomato juice?” my husband asked me when I placed my order. “Why tomato juice?” Clearly, tomato juice is not standard fare for me.

“I’m hungry,” I told him.

My plan worked.

Two minutes later, I sat back in my seat, my little plastic airline cup empty and two empty pretzel bags crumpled up on my seat back tray. No more hunger pangs. I was astounded. For me, the small amount of calories I’d consumed had done the trick to “tide me over” (as my mom would say).

I looked out the window and thought about my physical, flesh and blood hunger. I thought about the way it had consumed my thoughts and dictated my plans just ten minutes before. I thought about my comfort with comfort and some of the many ways I bow to my own flesh and blood.

We all do it, don’t we? We take comfort in comfort. When the events of the world and changes in our culture threaten our comfort or our status or our confidence in our ability to remain on solid ground, we focus on the shortest path to status quo.

God, however, calls us beyond the status quo. God calls us above mere comfort. God calls us to press past our hunger for significance, for safety, and for surety. He invites us to live on the edge of what we know and press into the Spirit of God, who calls us beyond our earthly hunger and into the work of building his kingdom—on earth as it is in heaven.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What earthly hunger(s) distract you from seeing things from a kingdom perspective? What is your first reaction when the status quo is threatened in your life? Are you comfortable with your reaction?

PRAYER: God, hunger is a real part of life in this body. People around the world are starving for physical and spiritual bread. Show me how to turn to you for spiritual bread, so that I can focus on serving the hungry instead of just wishing for my own needs to be met. Thank you for the comforts of this world. Help me to steward them well. Amen.

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