Imagine a pile of gifts under the Christmas tree. Actually, no need to imagine; here’s the exact scenario I’m talking about…


Now imagine that one of the gifts has this message on the tag: “Do not open until December 25!” (See further down.)

Of course, even if that message is not stated right on the tag, the expectation is still there that it is not to be opened until “the appointed time,” be that Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or whenever your family chooses to open gifts.

So let’s say it’s a week before Christmas and I spot a gift with a tag that says “To Barb from Dave.” I grab it, shake it a little, say “THANK YOU, Dave!” and start tearing off the wrapping paper.

Dave says “What are you DOING?!?!?!? You can’t open that!”

I say “What do you mean?? It says right here that it’s from you to ME!”

Dave answers “But it’s only December 18th! It’s not time to open presents yet!”

Reluctantly I put it back…  to wait for December 25 to get here.



So let’s take a closer look at what I was really doing…

Was I thankful? Indeed I was! Wasn’t that enough? Nope! I was thanking Dave for a gift that, while it had been bought and even wrapped for me, and was going to be mine eventually, it was not yet the appointed time for me to receive and open it. I was starting to open something that had not actually been given to me yet.

The Lord showed me that this is what’s actually taking place when I give thanks for food I want –  and even start – to eat, but I am not yet at a zero.

Yes, the food was chosen for me (perhaps by me) and it’s intended for me, but the Giver is not yet giving it to me because it is not yet time.

So I really don’t have any business thanking God for it until it is actually “the appointed time” for me to eat. Which is when I’m actually hungry!

If I sit down at the table and start to say “Thank You Lord for this meal,” no matter how appreciative I am, it’s not going to change the fact that I should not actually be thanking God for it when he has not actually given it to me – YET.

“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy desires of every living thing.“ (Psalm 145:15–16)


He gives us our food “at the proper time.” I looked up proper, and one of the meanings is “appropriate to the purpose.”

Okay, so what is the purpose of food? … To nourish our bodies and keep us alive and healthy. 

So “proper time” doesn’t mean we have to have meals at a certain (or proper) set time, like breakfast at 8am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm. It means that when our bodies are actually getting hungry, then is when it’s “the proper time” to refuel them.

So what we want to aim for is eating in the right timing – as in when we actually need the food. And I do not actually need it physiologically until I am physiologically hungry.

Head hunger cannot be satisfied with physical food. God alone, as it says in verse 16, satisfies our desires – our head hunger – with Himself.

He opens His hand to me, but my part is to take from His hand. At the proper time  when I’m actually hungry.

And it is at that point I can – and, of course, should – express my gratitude to Him, because He is actually giving it to me then. That is the right time to be thankful for my food!