The Hungry Inherit: Winning the Wealth of the World to Come. Third Edition. By Zane C. Hodges. Dallas, TX: Redención Viva, 1997. 135 pp. Paper, $8.95.
The hungry inherit. What does that mean? Hodges starts with examples of the gift that God offers to all in the illustration of “living water” and our thirst for the gift of eternal life. He proceeds to discuss the importance of living faithfully so that one will be heirs of an inheritance in the kingdom of God to come. In other words, eternal life as a free gift as stated in Eph 2:8, 9 does not depend at all on our works, but depends solely on His faithfulness to His promise to the believer. However, sanctification or discipleship depends on our faithfulness as stated in Eph 2:10. One lacking a clear understanding of rewards for believers is in danger of denying the assurance concerning the message of life. As a poor substitute for Christ’s guarantee, he will add works either as evidence for or validation of eternal life.
The Hungry Inherit was published first in 1972 by Moody Press. It was published again in a second edition by Multnomah Press in 1980. The current 3rd edition was published by Redención Viva in 1997. It is worth reading and re-reading each year to remind us that the gift of everlasting life is free and that believers ought to walk by faith and have a hunger which leads to an inheritance/reward. Hodges gives refreshing insights on the Biblical teachings concerning eternal life, discipleship, and rewards. Nearly half of the ten chapters deal with the message of life as presented in John’s Gospel as Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman demonstrating that the living water that He was offering was water that one only needed to drink once to have the promised everlasting life. Continuous lifelong drinking is not required. The moment she drank the water He offered, she would never thirst again.
Ryrie correctly states in the foreword, “When one finishes this book, there can be no mistaking the fact that the free gift of the water of life and the call to discipleship are clearly distinguished in the New Testament.” Although this is masterfully accomplished in an easy to read format, it is Hodges engaging narrative style that draws the reader in: “We don’t want to just tell you about the drama. We want you to be a part of it. We want you to meet its actors, and to hear their voices. Above all, we want you to think their thoughts and feel their feelings” (p. 9)
Dr. Earl Radmacher is well known for this statement on discipleship today and rewards to follow at the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ: “You are becoming today what you will be in the life to come through what you are doing with what you have today.” He may have been influenced by Hodges wrote something similar when he said this about the woman at the well in Samaria: “Her thirst had led her to eternal life, and her hunger would lead her to eternal heirship. That is the appropriate experience for everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus. For after all, the thirsty live, but the hungry inherit!” (p. 135). What a challenge for every believer. This is a must read for any and all believers.
Stephen R. Lewis
President, Rocky Mtn Bible Col and Sem