When I was in grad school, I was broke. I lived over a garage, worked on campus and stacked up school loans faster than I could count them. For food, I ate salami sandwiches. And not just an occasional salami sandwich. I ate salami sandwiches for days. On Sunday, I would go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread and a package of salami. With the mayo from the week before, I ate a salami sandwich for lunch and another one for dinner all week long. Breakfast was always cereal. By the weekend, I was so happy to see my nice, employed boyfriend. Why? He’d buy me a real meal. Maybe even with fruits and veggies and- dare I hope?- desert. It’s true that man cannot live on bread alone but you throw in a package of salami and you can at least make it to the weekend.
You know, as broke as I was, I never went hungry. The salami sandwiches filled me up but I wouldn’t say I was really satisfied. Of course after weeks and then months of salami intake, you start to forget what eating a nutritious, satisfying meal was like. Only when I thought of the dates with my boyfriend would I get hungry for a better life.
In Luke 15, Jesus told a parable about a lost son that became hungry for a better life. After squandering his inheritance from his father, the now starving son took a job feeding pigs but there was no food for him- not even pig food. Finally he realized that if he went home to his father’s house, even as a servant, he would eat better than he was with the pigs. When he arrived home, his father welcomed him not as a servant but as a beloved son and threw him a feast.
This parable is about a starving Christian returning home to God, our Father. The key for the young man to turn towards God was hunger. God’s table has not just massive dishes of grace and mercy but joy and peace, strength and guidance and so much more. If only each of us could experience the hunger for the treasures God has for us at His table. Instead, we’re too often satisfied with salami sandwiches. They’re filling, but certainly not satisfying.
If you are like me, instead of hungering for God’s word, you’re filling up on You Tube and I Tunes. Instead of longing for worship and fellowship you’re munching on reality shows and common gossip. Instead of yearning for time in the presence of God, you’re filling your minds with grocery lists, to-do lists and an endless list of worries.
God wants you to hunger for things that draw you closer to Him. The treasures of life with God can begin to be found in your Bible, your church and your prayer life. A little salami in your diet’s not a problem, but don’t settle for the mundane. Ask God to give you a hunger for the vital, dynamic, life He has in mind for you. Living with such a hunger is having a life fulfilled. Amen.