"The laborer's appetite works for him;
his hunger drives him on."
-- Proverbs 16:26
When I was working in sales, I often remember hearing our boss say "stay hungry." In fact, I remember interviewing for a sales position, and the interviewer told me they would rather hire someone who is inexperienced and "hungry" than someone who has tons of experience but no desire to succeed.
In most professions, one key quality that enables some people to rise to the top while others with similar talent and abilities settle in mediocrity is a hunger, or drive, that pushes you to go above and beyond anything you've done before. It's similar in our relationship with God. I know for a fact that the times when I've grown the most have and when I've been most satisfied in Him were in times when I was desperately "hungry" for God himself (kind of like when you haven't eaten for a long time and that next meal is oh so satisfying).
There are two ways to stay hungry, though. One is starvation. This is like when you go through a desperate time spiritually. The situation may be your fault (i.e. bad moral choices) or you could be completely blameless (i.e. job-loss due to economy), but either way you're desperate and hungry for God to be your refuge and strength.
Some of the deepest spiritual growth happens during these times. You learn things about God and yourself you never knew before. But God doesn't want us to go through life starving. The other way to stay hungry is to WORK HARD.
I just started an intense work-out program this week, and one thing I noticed is that when I'm working my body much harder than normal, I am much hungrier than normal and I eat a lot more! In my life lately, it seems like things have been pretty smooth sailing. But I'm working hard to be a great husband. I've noticed when I intentionally work hard to be a great husband, my DESIRE to be a great husband increases. When I work hard at being a great dad, my DESIRE to be a great dad increases. When I work hard to be a great leader in my profession, my DESIRE to be a great leader increases. When I work hard to know God and please him in my life, my DESIRE to know God and please him increases.
When you're starving, look to God, he promises to satisfy. But when things are good, work hard and stay hungry!