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Book Review – Hungry by Rondi Lauterbach


Book Review – Hungry by Rondi Lauterbach

The experience of hunger has always fascinated me. Why were we created with a hunger drive? What (if anything) did God intend by creating us to hunger?  Of course, without hunger those among us who are not maintenance-minded we could easily go malnourished or even worse, die. Imagine those who forget to change their oil, mow their lawn, or brush their hair after a few days of neglecting to eat of we were created without a propensity to hunger! Survival is a very practical reason for our sense of hunger. Pragmatism aside, I can’t help but think that there is a deeper and more profound purpose. After all, as Rondi Lauterbach points out in her book Hungry, God very well could have created us not only without hunger, but also without the need to eat in order to sustain ourselves. Not only this, but there is a consistent thread in scripture related to food. In the garden of Eden, God told Adam to eat!

Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat

In Ecclesiastes, we are told to eat our bread and drink our wine with happiness. In Matthew, in teaching us to pray, Christ tells his disciples to thank our heavenly Father for our daily bread. We know that the church in Acts ate together often as a part of  the Lord’s Supper (or more accurately the Lord’s Supper WAS a meal- a weekly feast). Over and over again, stories in scripture are centered around food and eating. The most telling passage however is in John 6 when Christ declares himself to be the bread of life and that those come to him will never hunger. It’s here where Lauterbach begins to unfold the mystery and splendor of hunger. Hunger, as Lauterbach brilliantly explains, is meant to point us to something greater than ourselves. It reminds us that we are completely dependent on something foreign to us in order to meet our deepest desire for satisfaction. The practical application of this truth is to learn to feed on Christ so that God is the ultimate source of our satisfaction.

In part 1, Lauterbach writes about the nature of food, our cravings, and our need for satisfaction in Christ. These cravings that we have are not physical cravings for food (although it may manifest itself as this) but cravings of the soul. The list of our cravings is long. Cravings for such things as significance, perfection, status, love and more often drive us to sin and despair. In the introduction to the book, Lauterbach imagines a scenario in which her son stares blankly into the refrigerator before exclaiming that there is “nothing to eat”. She responds by telling him that there is a turkey sandwich waiting for him in the refrigerator, he just needs to gather the turkey, bread, cranberry sauce and cream cheese and get to work. This is what she helps us to do in Part 2 of Hungry. We learn to see what is before us and put it together in order to feast on Christ– and the primary means for this is the study and application of the Word of God. This is an extraordinarily rich activity. It is here where Lauterbach expertly guides us through a way to read the Bible that goes beyond mere studying; it is a process of learning to consume, east and feast on scripture with Christ as the center of the feast. Not only do we learn to approach scripture as a means to satisfy our hunger, but Lauterbach gives us the opportunity to put it into practice using the book of Philemon.

Hungry is laid out in such a way that we can easily use it in private study or in a group setting. Each chapter ends with questions to reflect upon and discuss. The questions are designed to start us thinking about the things we hunger for and how we can fulfill that huger in a way that honors God and sets our appetites and affections upon Christ. I can’t think of a better book for those who are struggling with inordinate appetites and who desire to escape the endless restlessness that our appetites often create within us. In my opinion, that describes each and every one of us.

Where to Purchase | P&R Publishing

About the Author

Hungry by Rondi LauterbachRondi Lauterbach is a pastor’s wife who has been a friend and encourager to women in their life’s callings. She is a mother, grandmother, Bible study leader, Pilates teacher, and fierce competitor at all board games.






Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from P&R Publishing in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

21 thoughts on “Book Review – Hungry by Rondi Lauterbach

  1. Marty Bratton

    Hungry. I’m feeling it right this minute and need to eat something! I’m sure it is coming from something more than mere hunger. It’s a comfort thing for me but I also struggle to feel liked by others and hunger for acceptance. I’m sure I could use this book!

    • It sounds like you might benefit from it Marty. P&R currently has it on their site for just $10.

  2. Christine Sellers

    This is totally me lol! I have a lot of hunger. I hunger for acceptance and affection and performance and lots more. I shared before how my grandma passed away last summer from Alzheimer’s. It was very hard. After I mourned her loss I realized that I felt empty. Not empty from missing her I feel that too but this empty was from not having her to care for. I got fulfilment from caring for her. It’s a hunger to feel important and needed. Of course God doesn’t need me he doesn’t need anything but he can satisfy me with importance. He does for me and he loves me. What is more special than that? I believe it’s true but I have a hard time really living life as if he loves me as little old Christine. I don’t feel special but just like I’m a part of the church and he loves his bride but Im just like a fingernail of his bride. Some times I feel like I’m not even a fingernail. Maybe a booger. Yes a booger lol! So I feel like, important as a part of his bride but not important as just me by myself. How do I have this hunger met in Jesus so it’s not all about me and I don’t try to meet it from others?

    • Christine I remember you mentioning that in a comment on the Two Full Plates review. I really think you would benefit from Hungry based on your comments here. Check put the video on P&R’s website. Just follow the link to their site under ‘Where to Buy’.

      • Christine Sellers

        Thank you I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Jen A.

    This sounds like it might be exactly what I need right now. Thanks for posting it. The book is officially in my cart now.

    • Good! I know you will be blessed by it!

  4. We read scripture not because of how it meets our needs but because it shows us what God requires of us and how to live a life pleasing to Him. I get a little concerned when we start talking about desires that we have for our own benefit because now all of a sudden scripture is for our own therapeutic medicine and not a revelation of God. This sounds an awful lot like your best life now and not enough like be holy for I am holy.

    • Eric I agree that scripture is more than just therapy and I’m confident that you won’t find that approach to scripture in Hungry. Our disordered hungers are in need to reordering and must be reordered around the revealed design for them. Christ offers himself as the solution for inordinate spiritual hunger in John 6 and has a similar conversation with the Samaritan woman in John 4. Hungry is far cry from the type of therapy hermeneutic that you are addressing. It is thoroughly biblical.

      As a side note, I would add to your comment about reading scripture in order to know “what God requires of us and how to live a life pleasing to Him”. I would say that scripture not only show us the holy requirements of the law and our duty before God, but it goes on to show us that we are utterly incapable of keeping the law and pleasing God in the flesh. By flesh I mean our own efforts. God is pleased with us in Christ and not because we keep the law. We cannot keep the law. The law is simply too lofty for us to keep. So scripture does reveal these things but goes beyond that to give us a solution. It gives us good news. It gives us gospel. The substitution of Christ on our behalf, the exchange of his righteousness imputed to us for our sin imputed to Him, and the adoption of sons and daughters resulting in our union with Christ.

      • Okay thank you for clarifying. You always have good recommendations so I wanted to check. I see what you’re saying about pleasing God and actually do agree. But can’t we still please God once we are saved? Isn’t he pleased by us feeding the poor and obeying his commandments once we have been saved?

        • You’re welcome. I would say that for those who are regenerate, our works are accepted IN CHRIST because we are accepted In Christ. Not because we have somehow attained any sort of merit but because God sees our works as being in Christ since we are now in union with Christ. He accepts sincere works even though we do them in the context of our own sin. The Westminster Confession of Faith is a very good resource for understanding this. Chapter 16 I think deals with our good works and the way I described it is a sort of summary. It also contextualizes good works by 1) defining what it is (or rather it says that God is the one to decide what is good) 2) Clarifying that good works are “fruits and evidences of lively faith” 3) our ability to do any good work is from God and not in ourselves, 4) we will all and always fall short and 5) none of our good works will ever merit God’s pleasure or eternal life through goid works. It is here that they went in to say that despite all that, God looks at our good works as being in Christ and is pleased to accept them. So yes, if by God being pleased you mean that he is pleased with good works on the basis of Christ and his perfect obedience then I agree. But if by that you mean that he is we can somehow please God on the merit of our own goodness once we are regenerate than I would disagree.

  5. Jordan F. Tyler

    The problem with this sort of reasoning is that the church has interpreted John 6 as literal and not metaphor for 2000 years now. It sounds nice to be able to say that Jesus as the bread of life simply means he satisfies our spiritual hungers but the fact is the church knows no other interpretation other than the literal which points to eating the flesh of Christ and drinking his blood in Eucharist. It is nothing more than a statement about the real literal body and real literal blood in communion. This is more comforting than a metaphor interpretation.

    • Jordan thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. The Catholic and Orthodox churches have interpreted this as literal. I don’t think that is the best reading of the text. It is how the crowds misunderstood his words and their false understanding led them to abandon Christ.

      As a side note, it is incorrect and intellectually dishonest to imply that the church has only had a literal interpretation for 2000 years. A simple online search will reveal that this passage is not without controversy and that the church has disagreed on the meaning from the very beginning.

      I would disagree with your last statement. It is more comforting to know that in Christ being the bread of life, he is offering to us his own life-sustaining righteousness. The prospect of my judgement being based on my own true righteousness is not comforting. It is frightening.

      • Jordan F. Tyler

        I guess we disagree on what is the Church. Of course there are many heretical sects that consider themselves Christian and most are a result of the Protestant Reformation but these groups are not the church. So the church has always taught this as literal because there is just one holy Catholic church. Other churches (little c church because not true Church) can teach what they want but that doesn’t mean that the Church has taught contradictory doctrines. John 6 is a Eucharistic passage. He is talking about his body being the bread and blood being the wine. Eat them and have eternal life. This is the meaning of consuming Christ. Feasting on Christ is to participate in the Eucharist.

  6. Heinrich

    If you read John 6 all of John 6 you can not conclude this. A literal reading is nonsensical. This book appears to be right it is metaphor and it is to feed on Christ and his good news and not on self reliance.

  7. Nice review Aaron. I am coming to believe that the most destructive hunger or appetite we are facing today is a lust of the flesh that is feeding off of pornography. Maybe you could comment on that? It wasn’t touched on your review. Or maybe that’s a topic better suited for the website and not here? I’m fine with either. I just remember you helping me overcome my own addiction to it and to be honest my marriage was very rocky at first but over the years I regained her trust. Thoughts?

    • Porn is absolutely one of if not the single most destructive means of feeding an inordinate hunger that we see today. It is not only degrading to women (perpetuating the ugly idea that women are mere tools for a mens pleasure) but it is a violation of the marriage covenant and adultery. Sexual desire and hunger has it’s place and when it is in the right context it is a wonderful thing. But like all good pleasures that God has given us it can be misused to harm others and feed selfish desires. I don’t believe the modern idea that sex is simply for the individuals pleasure. It should always seek the interest of the other person– this is what makes it an act of the soul and it separates us from the animals who simply take instead of give. Porn violates all of these principles. It is almost always viewed in private with total disregard for the woman. So yes, as you know I have strong opinions on this. I’ve seen too many marriages ripped apart and in almost every situation the man chooses his fantasy world over up the love of his wife. I am so thankful for your example in overcoming it. I’m also happy to see that you are both talking openly about the damage it did to your marriage. So many people choose to keep the struggle private and as a result those who begun the journey of overcoming see very little hope. If you want to start that discussion on the website feel free but consider it together with Anna so that you reach a decision together. That’s all I ask.

  8. Thomas

    Thank you for taking a strong position in this. Three years ago I was caught by my wife and we went to the pastors for help. He gave us a list of things to work on. Mostly self control for me and for my wife told her she wasn’t meeting my needs or I would not have strayed. That hurt her. Almost all the blame was put on her. I recognized it was my sin and not hers and so we left and found a church that didn’t blame her for it although gave her some things she could do to help. But the real change came when after being in the church for a few months I started to realize that I had never before heard the gospel. They always called it gospel but their gospel was “try harder”. I was trying had but I couldn’t get rid of my love for my sin. The gospel took care of that. It gave me a new love and soon my love for porn disappeared. I don’t know what “hunger” this was. Maybe it was a hunger for nothing but sin. But the change in my heart replaced it with a hunger for the gospel. Porn free for 2 years now. And by porn free I mean completely. I don’t even look at women the way I used to. Everything has changed and it was because God gave me a new hunger.

    • Sean

      I’m not sure that I would say that porn is always bad. When we were struggling with it being wrong or not our pastor said since we are agreed on using it then it’s fine as long as we don’t get I to the really bad stuff. He said that probably 70 percent of the men watched porn and probably 5% or less were with their wifes. He said usually wrong because the guy is keeping secrets but in our case its fine.

  9. Aria V

    Sean that is disgusting and disappointing. When my husband was caught our pastor said it was basically my fault for not meeting his sexual needs and that I should be grateful that he only resorted to porn and not an affair or prostitute. Needless to say I left the church. My husband is still at that church and still watches porn. Why would he leave if they gave him a green light? A bad pastor can cause a lot of damage. And if you’re wondering I actually wasn’t meeting his needs. I was living in sin by neglecting him. But the first thing I did was leave the church then I started working on my own sin. We now have sex at least weekly sometimes more. He still watches porn. I love him and am committed to Him as his wife, but it tears me apart when I walk in and see him masturbating to porn like it’s no big deal. He won’t stop when I walk in on him now. Why should he? His pastor told him he is not in sin.

    • Aria, very well said. Sean…find a new church. Please.

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