34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.
Here we see a group that is, understandably, famished and afraid. Physically, they were starving and certainly ready to devour the sustenance put before them by Paul. But before eating, they still took time to pray and thank God for HIS provisions. Two important lessons are revealed in this passage. Firstly, we must always consider not only our physical health, but also our spiritual health. A full stomach is nothing if our spirits are malnourished. Secondly, we must ALWAYS be thankful. This was a group of castaways, likely lacking hope, physically at their breaking points, packed together in a tiny boat adrift at sea, and hungry. But while most would have given into their fear, anger or physical desires, they instead prayed a prayer of thanksgiving, led by Paul. This was the same Paul that wrote in Philippians 4:11 that he has “learned to be content in all circumstances,” and in I Thessalonians 5:18 urged others to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This attitude is echoed by missionary and Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, who once said, “When Jesus is with you, the worst can happen and the best remains.” (Charlie Engelmann).
Thoughts for the day
- Think back to a time when you were famished and/or afraid. How did you respond?
- What lessons are you able to glean in hindsight?
- Are you nourishing your spiritual health? What does that look like?
- How can you be thankful in all circumstances?
- Are you committed to gratitude or do you let the outside world dictate your emotional state?
Spend time today specifically thanking God in your areas of anger, frustration and other areas in which you feel there is a lacking. Be grateful and let God replace your spiritual famine with joyful abundance. Also pray for the international church in Shanghai. All expressions but especially, ICS, SWIF, AGIF, German Fellowship, Korean Community Fellowship, Danish Fellowship and Cantonese Fellowship (SICF).