Demand and Supply
By: Bodé Adeboyejo
There’s an old adage that is true -- you learn something new everyday. Well, I learned something new when my wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter, a few months ago. Prior to my wife’s delivery, I’d always thought that a pregnant woman’s body develops milk to nurse her baby during pregnancy. To be honest, I used to think that the increase in a pregnant woman’s breast size was due to the milk supply. But I learned that’s not the case.
I learned that a pregnant woman’s milk doesn’t come until after she delivers the baby! Neither does the breast size have anything to do with the quantity of her milk supply! Rather, a woman’s milk supply is based on a child’s appetite or nursing demand. That is, the more the baby eats, the more milk the mother’s breasts make. Conversely, the less the baby eats the less milk the mother’s breasts make. Wow! That was news to me!
It is a medical fact that when a baby nurses, it sends signals to the mother’s brain to produce more or less milk, depending on the baby’s needs. The greater the baby’s need, the greater the milk supply. Therefore, a mother’s milk supply is based on the economic principle of demand and supply!
Where am I going with this? Well, I believe that the same demand and supply principle can be applied to our spiritual nourishment; especially as it relates to our nourishment of God’s Word. That is, the bigger our appetite for the Word, the more nourishment we get from the Word. Conversely, the lesser our appetite the less nourishment we get from the Word.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
I’m convinced that one of the reasons why there are more spiritually malnourished Christians than there are spiritually nourished Christians is based on our appetite (our hunger and thirst) for the Word. Too many Christians have little or no appetite for God’s Word, thus explaining their spiritual emaciation.
After all, didn’t Jesus also say in Matthew 4:4 “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Therefore, our real soul food is the Word of God. That’s why Apostle Peter said “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” - (1 Peter 2:2). That is, the undiluted, unadulterated, milk of God’s Word.
Unfortunately however, many Christians know more about what Pastor so and so or Evangelist so and so said than they know about what God’s Word said. Many Christians would rather listen to someone’s sermon, read someone’s book or (article) than pick up their Bible. Many Christians would rather let someone else interpret the Bible for them, than let the Holy Spirit – the Teacher and the Reminder -- teach them Himself.
There’s nothing wrong with sermons, tapes/CDs, books or articles, as long as they are rightly divided. But even the best sermon, book or article doesn’t come close to God’s unadulterated Word! This is why it’s important that we go directly to the Source of nourishment -- the All Sufficient One!
Compared to the pure milk of the Word, sermons, tapes/CDs, books and articles are like infant formulas; they are good (if rightly divided) but not best for the baby! Scientifically, it’s been proven that a mother’s milk is best for a baby. And the best baby formula is not as good as a mother’s milk.
In their book, What to Expect the First Year, authors Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg and Sandee Hathaway, wrote about the advantage of breast milk to infant formula: “Today, pediatricians, nurse-midwives, even manufacturers of infant formula concur: Under most circumstances, breast is best by far.” (Page 3)
The same can be said of the milk of God’s Word over the ‘spiritual infant formulas’: sermons, tapes/CDs, books, articles, etc. Under most circumstances, God’s spiritual milk is best by far! And when you take a look at the advantages of breast milk over infant formula, you’ll notice that the same is true of the milk of God’s Word, when compared to the spiritual infant formulas: sermons, tapes/CDs, books and articles.
Therefore, let’s explore some of the natural advantages breast milk has over infant formulas, and relate them to the advantages that reading and studying the Bible has over sermons, tapes/CDs, books or articles. So for clarity sake, Gods’ Word (the Bible) is the breast milk while infant formula is the preached Word, whether verbal or written.
Here are some of the natural advantages of breast milk over infant formula, taken from the bestselling book on babies, What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg and Sandee Hathaway:
Unlike infant formulas, breast milk is custom made to meet the specific needs of a baby. Murkoff, Eisenberg and Hathaway wrote, “Tailored to the needs of human infants, breast milk contains at least 100 ingredients that are not found in cow’s milk and that can’t be synthesized in the laboratory.”
In fact, breast milk is so custom-made to a baby’s needs that “the composition changes constantly to meet a baby’s ever-changing needs: It’s different in the morning than it is in the late afternoon; different at the beginning of a feeding than at the end; different the first month than the seventh; different for a premature baby than for a term baby.”
Now, if that does not describe God’s Word, I wonder what does. God’s Word is exactly the same way -- it is custom-made to meet your specific needs. It contains numerous essential ingredients that cannot be found in sermons, tapes/CDs, books or articles, nor can it be duplicated, even under the best teaching environment. Its composition changes constantly to meet your ever-changing needs. A particular verse or passage can mean different things to you at different times in your life; yet still meet your needs every time.
Concerning breast milk, Murkoff, Eisenberg and Hathaway wrote, “Breast milk is designed for a human baby’s sensitive and still-developing digestive system, rather than a young calf’s.”
Like breast milk, the milk of God’s Word is easily digestible too, even though we may not think so. But it is. With the help of the Holy Spirit -- the Digestive Agent, a spiritual babe can read and understand the Bible. Rather, it’s some preachers and writers who make the simplicity of the Word, profound.
After all, concerning the things of God, Jesus said in Matthew 11:25, “…‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.”
Some preachers, in their effort to be deep, muddle up the Word of God such that it’s so hard to follow or understand. It’s not so with God’s Word.
Matter of fact, you are better off reading the Bible yourself than listening to some preachers. Are you going to understand everything you read? Certainly not! But if you read with a sincere heart, the Holy Spirit will reveal things to you on a need to know basis. It’s like going to school. You didn’t learn everything you know today at a sitting, in a class or school. But you learned it over a period of time. So it is with God’s Word.
Illumination comes with time. Just because you don’t understand a passage doesn’t mean there’s no correct interpretation for it or that God does not want you to understand it. You just don’t understand it yet, because you are not ready to receive it. It’s like trying to teach a 3rd grader calculus.
Jesus told His disciples in John 16:12-13:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
With breast milk, you don’t have to worry about contamination or adulteration, barring any disease or illness in the mother. Therefore, breast milk is safe. Likewise, barring any deliberate human inclusion or omission, the Bible is safe; safe from any contamination or adulteration by a preacher or writer.
Regarding breast milk, Murkoff, Eisenberg and Hathaway wrote, “Babies are almost never allergic to breast milk. Though an infant may be sensitive to something a mother has eaten that has passed into her milk, breast milk itself is virtually always tolerated well.”
Neither is one allergic to the reading and studying of God’s Word. One may be allergic to a preacher’s or a writer’s interpretation of the Word, as a result of mixing error with truth, but not the Word itself.
Breast-fed babies have fewer infections than formula-fed babies. Breast milk helps babies “come down with fewer colds, ear infections, lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and other illnesses…” And when breast-fed babies come down with any of these infections, they “usually recover more quickly and with fewer complications” than formula-fed babies.
You can tell a Word-fortified Christian apart from a sermon-fortified Christian. A Word-fortified Christian usually stands firm on the Word, when the storms of life rage; while a sermon-fortified Christian falls apart or is easily disillusioned.
King David wrote in Psalm 37:23-24, concerning a righteous man, saying…
The steps of a good man are ordered by the
The Word prevents and helps a Christian fight such spiritual infections like humanism, prosperity teachings, motivational teachings, self-righteousness and fake holiness, heresies, other false teachings, hypocritical and counterfeit preachers, etc.
“Breast milk is the ultimate convenience food, always in stock, ready to use, clean and consistently at the perfect temperature…wherever you are – in bed, on the road, at a restaurant, on the beach – all the nourishment your baby [you] need is always ready and waiting,” wrote Murdoff, Eisenberg and Hathaway.
Without a doubt, the same can be said of God’s Word. It is always available to you wherever you are. Your pastor or favorite televangelist may not be with you, your sermon tapes/CDs or books may not be with you, even your Bible may not be with you, but God’s Word is ever in you, especially if you digest it. This is why it’s good to not only read the Bible but have it in you, through memorization, meditation and application.
“Breast milk is free, whereas bottle feeding can be an expensive proposition,” wrote Murdoff, Eisenberg and Hathaway. Compared to the cost of sermon tapes/CDs, books, Christian seminars, retreats, etc., the cost of the Bible is almost negligible. Besides, there are several organizations that give away free Bibles. So, in a sense God’s Word is free, yet inexhaustible!
These are just some of the natural advantages of breast-milk over infant formula, and God’s Word over the best sermons, tapes/CDs or books.
Now, let me reiterate that just as there’s nothing wrong with infant formulas, there’s nothing wrong with sermons, tapes/CDs, books or articles, if they are rightly divided. Thank God for sermons, tapes/CDs, books or articles! But like I mentioned earlier, the pure milk of God’s Word is best by far.
Also, let me caution the “super saints,” especially those who think that because they’ve been saved for a while that they are not spiritual babes or that this article may not apply to them. In the context of this article, a “spiritual babe” is not just a new Christian but an “old” Christian who is new in things concerning God’s Word. That is, someone who has been saved for a while but who is still a babe as it relates to God’s Word.
Unfortunately, many Christians, if not most, fall into this category. It is not how long you’ve been saved that determines whether you are a babe or not. It’s how much of the pure milk of God’s Word you have ingested and digested that determines your growth. With proper nourishment comes growth!
The writer of Hebrews addressed such Christians in Hebrews 5:12-14:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Therefore, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” -- 1 Peter 2:2. Your spiritual growth is dependent on your use (or lack thereof) of the milk of God’s Word. So, if you are a spiritual babe regarding God’s Word, regardless of how long you’ve been saved or your title in a church, you have to go back to the milk of the Word before you can handle the meat of the Word. No baby starts out eating solid food. A baby’s stomach can’t handle solid food.
And once you’ve outgrown the pure milk of God’s Word, then go on to solid food – go on to maturity. No child stays on milk perpetually either. At some point you have to go on to solid food!
So, to the spiritual babes, it’s safe to ask, “Got milk?”
As you begin a new year, resolve to know God for yourself through reading and studying His Word. You can never really know God unless you know Him for yourself! No one can tell you about Him, as He can tell you about Himself -- through His Word. But you’ll have to find out for yourself. It’s like any relationship. You can’t know a person based on another person’s opinion. To really get to know a person, you’ll have to meet the person and spend time with the person. So it is with knowing God.
To help you read the Bible in a systematic and meaningful way, here is a 2-Year Bible Reading Schedule I developed a few years ago, which I and some other Christians are using to read the Bible. If you commit to reading two chapters a day, you’ll finish the entire Bible in two years. Why two years? It lets you read at a slower pace, and is an easily attainable goal than the one-year Bible reading plan.
Besides, the 2-Year Bible Reading Schedule is designed, as much as possible, in the order in which the books of the Bible tell a meaningful story chronologically. Since the books of the Bible are not arranged chronologically.
By the way, it helps tremendously if you can get one or two people to join you so as to keep one other accountable.
I pray that the Lord strengthens you to have a hunger and thirst for His Word and righteousness, and be a doer of it. Amen.
The Lord'sQuill © 2006