“The Lord will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples — a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines.” (Isaiah 25:6 NIV)

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8 NIV)

A baby lives for his next feed. He doesn’t care who feeds him or whether his mother is exhausted. He screams for milk. But milk does not satisfy him for long. His muscles and brain can’t grow strong and healthy without regular meals. His digestive system soon requires solid food. His parents introduce him to various tastes until, as an adult, he craves meat to chew.

As a wine merchant, I had customers who regularly purchased bottles of what I call plonk. Good wine does not have to be expensive, but for those in the trade certain products are the equivalent of baby food. Weak and watery, this wine has no body or substance and very little taste. Asked why they liked it, customers answered vaguely that it was “nice”. They knew nothing about oenology or viticulture. They had no interest in food pairing. When I conducted wine tastings they brushed by to pick up their usual. They even served it to guests. In their ignorance they pretended to be connoisseurs.

Others enjoyed learning how to sniff, swirl and sip, as I led them further into the world of wine. I could offer advice not only because, yes, I had indeed tasted every single bottle on our shelves, and not only because I had a number of certificates, but also because I kept meticulous notes. Depending on the dish they were serving, I could lead them in the right direction. I knew their meal would be much more satisfying when accompanied by the right wine.

Like wine, and any new food, God’s Word is an acquired taste. A baby, familiar with his bottle, spits out his first taste of pureed vegetables. Those who are familiar with one insipid wine will frown and wave a better product away. It takes time and willingness to acquire a taste.

So it is with God’s Word. When we appeal to God in an emergency but otherwise spend very little time with him, we just pretend to be Christians. If we feel dissatisfied, weak or confused, thinking there must be more to life – it’s because we’re starving for God’s Word! Let’s be willing to open our mind, savour, and taste his goodness. Only when we digest his Word thoroughly will we grow to maturity in faith and understanding. Only then will we be able to bring others to his banquet.

“He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” (Matthew 22:3 NIV)

“Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NIV)

Heavenly Father, You want your children to grow. Help us to search and hunger for your Word, always wanting more of you. Fill us with your Spirit and help us to be mature Christians, able to lead others to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

JJ Olerenshaw