Each year 3.5 million people visit Yellowstone National Park. One of the attractions that people love to see are the bears. For years tourists would feed the bears from their cars as traffic backed up and the park officials would turn a blind eye. However wildlife officials have discovered the negative consequences of feeding the bears. Each year there are several bear and human incidents that result in a bear having to be killed. Also, feeding the bears causes them to depend on the human handouts and makes them less likely to use their skills to search for their own food. They become used to the freebies. The park is filled with plenty of bear food but they still find bears dead from starvation.
I am afraid that many of us as Christians look to God in the same way that bears look to tourists. We follow Him for what He can do for us. God please fix my marriage, get me a better paying job, and while you’re at it find me a parking place close to the mall. We look to God for a quick handout, and with a “what have you done for me lately” attitude. While it is true that the Bible tells us to ask God for what we need, our God is much more than some kind of wealthy tourist dispensing free handouts. Jesus tells us in Luke 9:23: “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me”. We need to develop a rugged servant attitude that will follow our Lord no matter what. Job lost everything in his life but he did not give up on God. The three Hebrew children in Daniel knew that God could deliver them from the fire but they also said to the king that if God did not deliver them, they still would not deny Him and bow down to the idol.
Everywhere you look in Yellowstone you see the “Don’t Feed the Bears” signs. Perhaps God’s people need to dig into the nourishment-filled woods of scripture and learn to feed themselves.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation