I’m taking my annual sabbatical this week, but want to make sure you stay encouraged by God’s Word while I’m away. Here’s a Throwback Thursday post from 2015 I wrote.
I recently went with our church’s youth group to serve an inner city mission. This ministry doesn’t just serve the needs of those who live on premises, but they also serve the community around them. We were there to help them organize, clean, do yard work, and to serve lunch. About an hour and a half before lunch, people began arriving in the lobby to wait for the food to be served. Some were individuals and some were families who needed a little help. They come each day for a meal that won’t cost them anything.
In John 6, Jesus fed 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish. The people were ecstatic about the free meal, but also realized they were a part of a miracle. The next day, they went looking for Jesus, who had gone to the other side after walking on water to the boat. When they got there, Jesus called them out. In verse 26, Jesus said, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free” (MSG). People were looking for a free meal, but Jesus was wanting them to be hungry for spiritual food.
In verse 27, He said, “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last” (MSG). The people at the mission waited a couple of hours for food that would only satisfy their hunger for a few hours. Don’t get me wrong, they needed the food and there was lots of ministry going on during the lunch, but the people went for the physical food rather than the spiritual food.
Our human nature seems to crave the perishable things of this world instead of the imperishable. You and I have to teach our minds to expend our energy and time on the things that matter for eternity. We have to re-teach our minds to value the things of God. You’ll know that you’re valuing the imperishable when you make time for things like spending time in prayer, reading God’s Word, and serving your neighbor. That’s the food that satisfies more than a few hours, and that’s worth waiting for.