One of the most frequent reasons for someone leaving a church for another is that they say, "I'm just not getting fed there." The preacher no longer speaks to me. The sermons don't touch me the way they used to.
I agree that there's some truth to this. Folks like me - who are in the profession of preaching - can get a lot better at communicating in a way that connects with people. I too have heard some preaching that puts me to sleep, and I was the one preaching!
But I think there's something far more serious than that happening. For the most part, people have been led to believe that all they needed to do to mature as Christians is to show up to church and participate in small groups, Bible studies, and church events. And the implied message was that all you will ever need to grow up as Christians can be found in church.
I think, the church needs to start articulating a brand new message - the more mature we get, the more we grow up, the more we need to become self-feeders. That's one of the biggest signs of maturity. Whereas we used to need someone to spoon-feed us stuff, now that we're grown up, we can feed ourselves.
I was reading about the life of King David and came across an incredible passage. It says in 1 Samuel 30:6, "And David strengthened himself with trust in his God."
Let me give you some background information on this passage. David and his men went out to battle with the Philistine lords because David had found refuge with Achish when Saul was hunting him down. But when the other Philistine lords saw David coming out to battle, they were like, "He's not going to fight with us. He's going to turn against us in the heat of battle." So they demanded that David and his men go back home. And when they returned home, they discovered that their city had been burnt to the ground and everything they owned and their wives and children had been taken captives by the Amalekites.
Not only did David and his men rejected by the Philistine lords, they lost everything they owned, and their wives and children had been taken captive. And if you think that's bad, it only gets worse. Now the men he had been leading turn against David and want to kill him.
And this is when we come across this passage - And David strengthened himself with trust in the Lord. David was able to find strength even when all hell was breaking loose and lead his people to destroy the Amalekites and restore everything that had been lost.
Here we come to an amazing truth. David was able to find strength - not because other people were propping him up, not because there was a small group to pray with him (not that these are bad things, but I degress) - because he relied on God to strengthen him. David was a self feeder. He knew where, no who, to go to find strength. David knew that his present situation wasn't about to change the promises God made to him. God told him that he would be the king of Israel, and there was nothing that was going to prevent that from happening. So he found strength in the promises of God.
David was a self-feeder. He knew who to turn to for strength. One of the ways we demonstrate our spiritual maturity is by learning how we too can become self-feeders. No one else is responsible for our own spiritual health and wellbeing more than ourselves.