Should I feast or should I fast?

One child dies every 10-15 seconds due to hunger-related causes, and 870 million people were suffering from malnutrition in 2012. (Source: worldhunger.org)

Within a few miles of my home in Huntsville, AL are dozens of restaurant buffets where I can eat any amount I want. If I skipped a buffet meal and gave the $10 to “Food for the Hungry,” I could probably save a life.

Should I feast or should I fast?

I currently live in an 850 square foot home, but my last home measured 2200 square feet. Which house choice is right?

Should I feast or should I fast?

My church community rents inexpensive space in a wonderful little community center. but my last church spent well over a million dollars to build a brand new facility. Which is the right way? What does God want?

Should churches feast or should they fast?

Each month, I set aside a portion of my income to give directly to families in drought-stricken Ethiopia. If I sold my house, I could give thousands more to people in desperate need.

Should I feast or should I fast?

My first car was a $300 Pontiac Catalina that had more rust than paint. I have also bought a brand new Nissan Sentra. Which was the wisest choice? Which car would God prefer I have?

Should I feast or should I fast?

I have enjoyed weddings with lavish meals, an open bar and dancing for hours to DJ music. Joy and I celebrated our own wedding with home-made snacks, a punch bowl, and music from cassette tape. What is the right way to do a wedding?

When planning a wedding, should we feast or should we fast?

What is the heart of God? What does He want? Should we feast or should we fast?

The answer is clear. Consider this word from the Bible (New International Version).

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

Or is it so clear?

Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19)

But then there is this word from Jesus.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)

On the other hand, God commanded lengthy celebrations for Israel.

Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. (Deuteronomy 16:13-15)

But Jesus himself appears to have owned almost nothing.

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

Still, his very first recorded miracle was to provide liters and liters of backup wine at a wedding where the bar had run dry.

Hmmmm.

As best I can tell, we should fast on some occasions.

And we should feast at other times.

So, how do you live in a feast sometimes and fast sometimes world?

That is a great question…for another post.

Until then, I’d love to get some of your ideas in the comments section.

Comments

  1. Linda

    Hmmm….. Gotta read this a few more times. Not sure I enjoyed the feelings I got while reading. Guilt? Regret? Difficult post this time, Roger!

    PS: Your old church “raised” that money from people who did give – people who gave until it hurt. Pretty proud of that one.

  2. James

    Roger: I read this with great interest. Then, I read it again. I appreciate the Socratic way in which it is written. Then, Shakespeare comes to mind; “To feast and fast, or to not feast and fast.” I too, have also encountered times in my life when I have had to ask myself the same things. Which DOES God actually “prefer” from His children? Recently, I have been teaching from the Book of James; and, if there’s one thing that I have learned, it is that God looks at our motives. Why do you do what you do? Do yo dast so that others will know about it? Or do you fast because you actually want someone to discover that you hace done it? Do you feast to show off your wealth, or even your ability to help others? Or , more importantly, do you do what you do in a humble, quiet way? The scripture is clear on what our motivation for service should be. I have no problem either dasting or feasting. Both are encouraged in scripture. This is sure. My motive should be to do whatever I do for Christ to be just that; done for Christ. We come before His table, whether feasting or fasting, it is our true heartthat He looks at. Let us remember, we can’t fool God. He knows us better than we would ever want to admit. It’s our motive that He looks at. Feast or Fast? BOTH!

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