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 if 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, even mediocre food seemed OK and I forgot 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.
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 the boy realized that if he went home to his father’s house, even as a servant, he would eat better there than he was currently able to 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. God’s table has massive dishes of grace and mercy, plus joy and peace and strength and guidance and so much more. If only each of us could continually hunger for those treasures that God serves up for us at His table. Instead, we are often satisfied with spiritual salami sandwiches. They’re filling, but certainly not satisfying.
If you are like me, instead of hungering for God’s word, perhaps you’re filling up on YouTube and iTunes. 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, at your church and in 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 and dynamic life He has in mind for you. Living with such a hunger is having a life fulfilled. Amen.