“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11)
Many years ago, in San Diego, California, city authorities were alerted to an extraordinary and tragic event happening to some of the pelicans on their beaches. For some unknown reason, pelicans were starving to death by the hundreds. For a while, wildlife authorities and researchers alike were dumfounded by the deaths. Food contamination was initially suspected, but soon that was disproved, as were sicknesses and various other ideas that were investigated. Eventually, it was discovered that man’s benevolence was destroying these beautiful creatures. You see, for years, the pelicans were the benefactors of discarded waste from the fishing industry in the area. When this practice of throwing fish waste into the bay was ceased, the tragedy unfolded. Since food was so readily available, the art of fishing was not passed on to their young anymore. As a result, they could not provide for themselves, and they ended up starving to death.
In a rather creative solution, Alaskan pelicans were introduced into the area, and fishing practices soon returned to normal. Spiritually speaking, we can be just like those pelicans. Our biblical diet can be so spoon-fed to us that we lose the ability to “search the scriptures” for ourselves. The result is that we starve spiritually. We cannot rely solely on those teaching and preaching to feed us biblically – it is up to us to learn to feed ourselves. Moreover, if we do not learn the art of self-feeding, we will not know what we are being fed. We may inadvertently, or worse, purposely be poisoned with false teachings. If we cannot discern false doctrines, we will end up dying in an unsaved state. Many people are too lazy or simply don’t care what they are being fed. They go to church, ingest whatever is thrown before them, and then leave, ticking the “Gone to church” box. Why would we leave such a critical thing as our eternal salvation in the hands of another? We may not have the gift to teach or preach, but we all have the ability to study for ourselves.
While the importance of sound teachers and preachers cannot be overstated, it is of paramount importance that we take responsibility for spiritual growth. The only way we can accomplish that is by studying and meditating on the Word of God. That is the only sure way to mature as Christians and strive to be more Christlike in our behavior. So, accept the spiritual food with a measure of thankfulness, but then go home and meditate on it. Preachers and teachers are not perfect either. They may inadvertently be teaching something incorrectly, and careful study could help them see the mistake and correct it.
We are all students of the Word, irrespective of our age, spiritual maturity, education, or standing in the church. Don’t wait; start learning the art of feeding yourself today.