Keith Wishum: Would you like a hot dog?
Published 10:09 pm Friday, September 21, 2018
One hundred fifty million hot dogs!
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, there is), that’s how many hot dogs Americans ate on July 4 — enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times. How hot dogs became associated with Independence Day is unclear. Probably, because they are about as close to free as it gets with food. If you have to feed 150 million at the holiday picnic, filet mignon is out of the question.
Not only did we eat a huge number of hot dogs on July 4, some people ate theirs in a big hurry. At Nathan’s Famous annual hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut claimed his 11th Mustard Belt championship by downing a record 74 dogs and buns in just 10 minutes!
What is most amazing, however, is not how many hot dogs Americans eat nor how fast Chestnut can choke them down. What’s amazing is that after millions of hot dogs, people got up the next day and were hungry again. Are we never satisfied!
Of course, we aren’t — at least not for long. Hunger keeps us eating. And eating keeps us alive. We must eat to survive. Only when we’re dead, or about to be, do we stop eating. The same is true spiritually.
We need a healthy appetite. Jesus described himself, “I am the bread of life” and said regarding his teaching, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:48, 63).
After hiking over 900 miles, health problems forced an acquaintance to abandon his quest to complete the Appalachian. He couldn’t stop losing weight (wouldn’t that be nice) and got sick. Burning more calories than he consumed, his body began consuming itself.
The solution? Stop and eat.
When life’s demands increase, the greatest mistake we can make is to begin skipping spiritual meals. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’re struggling to survive, the last thing you should do is skip church or bypass your Bible reading. If you’ve stopped eating spiritually, is it because you’re dead? Or because you’re about to be?
Not all spiritual meals will be memorable. Some may be poorly prepared. But if they contain the words of Jesus, they’ve been guaranteed to nourish our souls. To very loosely paraphrase Matthew 4:4, “Man does not live on hot dogs alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
One hundred and fifty million hot dogs! How many words of God?
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.