“The lips of the righteous nourish many.”
(Proverbs 10: 21)
This month my husband and I celebrated 60 years of marriage, (when I write that number I must go back and check again and say to myself that cannot be right!) We have a large family with four daughters and their spouses and eight grandchildren, so my daughters felt that celebrating 60 years together definitely called for a party and they organised a wonderful day for us all, plus old friends. One of my friends spoke to me after the party was over and I was very touched at what she said, “I love the way your children nourish you” She was not referring to the incredible food that was such a hit, but she meant she saw something more in our relationship.
Nourish, is such a lovely word. It means so much more that just setting a plate of food in front of someone. When I went to check in the dictionary to see the complete uses of the word, I was not surprised to read each description spoke of loving care e.g. foster/ cherish/ help to grow/ maintain/ strengthen/ encourage.
I began to realise that when Jesus said these words;
“Jesus said, “Feed my sheep…”” (John 21: 17)
He was asking Peter to nourish, in the full sense of the word, all those who would choose to put their trust in him. It is also a call for us to look around in our own lives and ask the Holy Spirit to show us who needs nourishing.
We know that the feeling of hunger shows us we need some form of sustenance. Hungering for something does not always mean we need physical food. Emotional needs can cause deep hunger and in some circumstances, leave one in a fragile state. We can be so lonely that a hunger for friends or someone to love us can mar our everyday life. We can hunger for acceptance in a world that is obsessed with only those that look and act like us. We can hunger for a mentor or a teacher to help us to succeed.
There is one form of hunger that we all need to encourage in ourselves and God’s word shows us how that can be nourished so it becomes a beautiful blessing;
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5: 6)
When we become nourished by spending time in the Lord’s presence our cup overflows just as David describes in that beautiful Psalm 23
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23: 5)
Once we are thoroughly nourished, we then have a great supply to call upon to help nourish others.