During the year that we interned with the ministry in Hungary that we are now preparing to join long-term, I first heard this term: self-feeder. It was referred to as those who are the believers, the ministers and disciples of Jesus, maturing to a place where their lives are strong in spiritual discipline so as to be nourished in their own times with God.
In other words, if you are a missionary in a place where Evangelical churches are few and even those that do exist are in a language that is so difficult to learn…it will take you years, you do not depend upon the food of Sunday morning to feed you for the week. You cannot depend on Sunday to feed you. You must become a self-feeder.
This is not to say that the regular fellowship of believers in a solid, Bible-teaching church is not sought. It is, however, to prepare for the Sundays when there is no translation and other than knowing that the pastor you are hearing has a good heart, you do not understand a lick of what he is saying.
It is also for all of the people NOT living overseas in places where there are good churches where services are in your ‘heart language’. Because as we all become self-feeders we become more like Him. Able to give up our desires to feed others. After all, who fed Jesus? His Abba Father and mine. And it did not happen through this instant connection because Jesus was God’s Son. As he walked in our humanity, he communed with the Source of His Strength. He was a Self-Feeder through time and space spent with the Father.
So, I am strengthening my habits as a self-feeder in 2011 as I prepare to be, very possibly, by the end of this year back in Hungary, long-term, in a church that may or may not have translation or child care. But, I am also deepening these self-feeding habits because I am growing up. I have become the physical and spiritual parent that is never ‘off the clock’ called to live all of life as ministry.
Here are some of my self-feeding habits:
1) Time in God’s Word: I struggle, oh how I struggle. But the desire remains before me as the essential food necessary for growth. I seek to spend some time daily memorizing Scripture and thus meditating throughout the day. When I’m between meals and diaper changes, God’s Word is right there with me. I also have been loving Jesus Calling and the cutting to the heart found there with an extra look at the passages listed at the bottom.
2) Practicing the Presence: This flows from deep trust and belief that God is with you wherever and however you are. You know that He meets you in each moment and you purpose to live thankfully…in all things. (I Thess. 5:18)
3) Fill Your Space With Praise: Either through your mp3 or IPod or local Christian radio station or favorites on CD, fill your mind and heart through the good things of God. I often go to my family blog and listen to the playlist I have there.
4) Sermons Aren’t Just for Sundays: There are many amazing sermons free on-line to listen from your computer or download to a listening device. I currently am loving Tim Keller’s series on The Prodigal God .
5) It’s The Little Things: For me this is the 20 minute power walk when husband comes home and dinner is cooking. I pour out and pound out the pent up things and re-focus myself on prayer.
and many more…
If your self-feeding is healthy you aren’t gasping for air til Sunday morning comes. More, you are a stronger part of the Body and do not look to it for what it gives you, but for what God may be calling you to give to it.
How about you? Are you a self-feeder? If so, what are the ways that you discipline yourself to receive essential spiritual food?