This is part two of a two-part series on how to grow in faith (read Part I). When we feed our babies, they grow and thrive. In the same way, Christians grow and thrive when they’re “fed.” Who are the “feeders?” They are those who know where to get the best food, and who are willing to give some to others. This post is about those I call the Feeders.
Elijah and the Ravens
The story of Elijah being fed by ravens in the Old Testament book of 1 Kings inspired me to write these blog posts. More on that to follow. But to introduce the story, I’ve copied the verses here:
“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook” (1 Kings 17:2-6).
Visit my previous blog post to read about Elijah, who represents those who are fed, the Eaters. This post will focus on the ravens, those who feed others, or the Feeders. Here are three characteristics of Feeders, or ravens.
Feeders are Obedient
God directed or instructed the ravens, they listen to God and they obediently act on what God calls them to do. Feeders are obedient. But before the Feeders can be obedient, they must take time to listen to God for instructions. They practice stillness and listening prayer. They may be considered contemplative. You can imagine them getting up each morning and being still, waiting for marching orders for the day.
Feeders are willing to put aside their own agenda and follow God’s instructions. This takes humility, to put someone else’s needs above your own. Perhaps older people could be considered Feeders, those who mentor or who are elders. Those who have their eye on who is following them, discerning who they need to pour into so one day there will be new Feeders in the flock.
When we mentor married couples, we often cast vision for them. It’s our dream that one day each couple we’ve mentored will be sitting on our side of the table, pouring into a younger couple. There is an urgency to build up the next generation. Time seems to fly by, and before you know it, you can be staring your elder years in the face. Prepare now – who is going to replace you? In ministry this is always our mantra – who is coming next and how can I help prepare them?
Feeders are Knowledgeable
When God instructed the ravens to get meat, they knew just where to find it. Feeders are not new Christians; they’ve been around the block. They have spent time digging into God’s word and understand the deeper things of Scripture. They have been spiritual “carnivores” for a long time. The Bible uses the imagery of eating meat versus drinking milk to contrast mature believers to new believers.
- “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).
- “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness” (Hebrews 5:12-13).
Feeders are Faithful
Ravens fed Elijah bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, God didn’t have to ask twice. The ravens are disciplined. That means they are disciplined about their own feeding too. Before they could bring meat to Elijah, they had to find it first. They are compelled to be fed and filled up. They hunt for deeper meanings in Scripture on a regular basis, chewing, swallowing, and digesting God’s truths. Then they are filled up and ready to pour out deeper truths to the Eaters.
I am Raven
We had a listening prayer exercise at church last winter. We were encouraged to ask God what He calls us. I was intrigued, what does God call me? My parents named me after Debbie Reynolds, the actress who starred in Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly just before I was born.
But God, He has a different name for each of us. He is our heavenly Father, and His name has a heavenly meaning. Names in the Bible always point to the destiny of the person. “Abba, what do you call me?” I whispered a tentative question and received an immediate answer.
It was unmistakable, it was surprising. I would never have guessed that would be my name. A raven is a large black bird, croaks like crazy, and has a “menacing” beak. I quickly looked up ravens in the Bible, and found quite a few references, one which indicated that ravens were sent to peck someone’s eyes out!
I contacted Ann, our associate pastor and asked her what she thought, and she knew instantly what it meant. She pointed me to the 1 Kings 17 story of the ravens feeding Elijah. I feed people, like the ravens did, only through teaching. That sure sounded better than pecking people’s eyes out!
Show Others How to Grow in Faith -Looking for a Flock of Ravens
As I have studied that passage and meditated on it’s meaning, I discovered the points I’ve already made above. I also realized that there wasn’t just one raven that fed Elijah, there was a flock of ravens. I need to belong to a flock of ravens!
In many ways, I have been part of a flock for some time, the flock of marriage mentors at our church. It’s encouraging to be part of a flock, it makes the hard work of feeding others easier. When we get depleted we can learn from each other and lean on each other.
Do you think you might be a raven? Do you feel called to be a Feeder? Comment below and let me know if you are feeling a nudge. Not sure what this will look like yet. We will set up a Facebook group to discuss this further.
…because U count, deb