At our old house there were a couple of different times that I had the opportunity to watch a bird nest as it was being built to when it was abandoned. In between I had the privilege of watching a family born and raised. This morning I pondered a mother bird feeding her babies, first with food coming from her own ‘stomach’ and then providing other soft food. The mother regurgitates the food into her babies mouths not just to give them sustenance but because they need her digestive enzymes to help process the food. Later, when the babies’ bodies can handle the food better, she brings soft ‘live’ food.
It made me think about ‘the church’ today and how many people attending gatherings are relying on their leaders: pastors/ teachers/ elders to do all the work (of reading the Bible, praying, learning, and seeking His face) and then to regurgitate it out to them during the service or Bible study. That’s what they’re paid for after all, right? We can’t handle the Word on our own so we need our leaders to predigest it and give it to us in a form we can handle. I don’t think it’s supposed to be that way. Even later when we can digest somewhat better, we still want them to give us all our food (soft food of course).
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 1Cor. 3:1,2
Paul speaks to those who still want to be fed like babies as being carnal or unregenerate and unable to ‘digest’ the real food. We certainly need leaders to teach the Word, but they are not to be our main or only source of learning of the Word. We are supposed to be reading/ learning it at home. King David spoke about meditating on the Word day and night, hiding the Word in his heart, delighting in the Word and obeying it’s precepts. We should do the same.
Did you know, there was actually a time in history when it was forbidden for common people to own or read a Bible because they were considered too ignorant (re: stupid) to understand and therefore they might not obey the God’s rules (as dictated by the local church) or -God forbid- begin to question their local leaders? The Lord bless all our leaders who teach us well and encourage us to read the Word on our own. And remember that Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to teach us. (John 14:26)
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles (words) of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful (inexperienced, ignorant) in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe (infant, simple minded, immature). But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb. 5:12-14 (Then Paul continues in chap. 6 to write they should be moving on from the basic doctrines already taught.)
It is time to give our leaders a break from our expectations to be fed only by them. We need to mature and start eating the solid meat of the Word on our own first and then be supplemented by the mouths of others. The Lord gave us intelligence AND He sent His Holy Spirit to teach us. Can there be a greater teacher than God Himself?
May God give every Christian leader wisdom and guidance in leading us on the right path.