“When your words came to me I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16).

“I’M STARVING!” Many a mother has heard those words from her children! But they’re not, really, are they – starving, I mean? They’re just hungry.

But there are those who really are starving, whose quantity and quality of food just can’t sustain health and life. As residents of North America, we can hardly imagine that. When we see pictures of victims of starvation, we are horrified and rightly so! There IS enough food in the world. But sin—war, greed, indifference—prevents its adequate distribution. Thankfully, many contribute to humanitarian aid to fight starvation. Do you, too? Good.

But there is an even more serious starvation—spiritual starvation—afflicting billions in the world right now. They do not have the Bread of Life or the Living Water. The psalmists write, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey” (119:103) and “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (34:8). Isaiah invites, “Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost….Eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare” (55:1).

It may seem odd that these inspired writers talk of EATING God’s Word. But what happens to the food we eat? It actually becomes part of us. And that’s what we want to happen spiritually – for God’s Word to become part of us. Just as our bodies need daily food and water for life, so our souls, too, need the living food and water supplied by our gracious God.

By God’s mercy we know this; our souls are well-nourished. But, what about those billions starving to eternal death? More than rice and milk and clean water for their bodies, they need the life-giving Word of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And they’re not just in Africa or Haiti. They’re in the house next door, the desk next to yours, right in your family. Our church diligently trains men and women to work full-time for the gospel, but each one of us received the great commission. Let’s all confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord. Let’s all pray fervently for missions. Let’s all bring generous offerings, inspired by God’s generosity to us.

Then our church, dedicated to feeding the spiritually hungry with the life-sustaining Word of God, will be strong to face Satan’s obstacles. The devil works against us—openly, in countries hostile to Christianity, more subtly, through the materialism in society around us. He wants to turn us away from heavenly things toward the worthless things of this world. When we feel the devil’s temptation, Jesus’ victory for us empowers us to resist, to persevere, to work for what is eternal! God’s Word is our source of spiritual life and health, and it is what the starving billions of the world need!

Lord, feed my soul with your Word. Remind me to pray for the spiritually starving and for those who feed them with the gospel. Move me to bring cheerful, generous offerings in support of missions. You gave yourself for me; help me live for you. Amen.