What have you done for me lately?

February 17, 2011

Jesus had just fed five thousand people with a few fish and loaves.  Everybody at the dinner knew where their meal came from.  So the next day they wanted more of Jesus. But maybe they didn’t really want more of Jesus, maybe they just wanted another free meal, another free miracle.  They didn’t have a hunger for God, they just had Bieber Fever.

So when they woke up and found their rock star gone, they got in their boats and followed him to the other side of the lake to swoon and scream and ask for more.  But they were asking for the wrong thing.

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

We all know that there are times when what we want is what Jesus can give us. But what we really need is not a gift from Jesus but the gift of Jesus.  Certainly there are times when a gift is appropriate to ask for.  (I’ve been doing that a lot lately) He tells us the we don’t have because we don’t ask.   He tells us His Father loves to give good gifts to His children.  But there really is no greater gift than His presence.

I’ve been listening to some of my older CD’s lately, Tommy Walker and the California Assembly Worship Band has been striking the right chord with me.  He sings from the point of view of this passage we are looking at.  Songs like,  When We See Him, The Sweet Presence of Jesus,  Calling Out to You. Songs that sing to Jesus, not simply about Him. Don’t get me wrong, singing about his love and his benefits and his blessing is good.  But God tells us to Call on Him. We need to seek God, not just his gifts and benefits.

When we seek God we get everything we need.  When we call to The First and The Last, the Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the End, we also get the In Between as a bonus.  When we go for the bonus first we miss the best.  We miss what we are really looking for, what we really need.

29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not ab andon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.  (Deuteronomy 4)

At least ten times in Deuteronomy alone we are asked to seek God with our all.  When we are sold out to Him, He is sold out to us.  This is almost a conundrum.  When we want Jesus first, all other things are added to us. But when we want things first….  But of course my problem is this, do I want Jesus so that I can get all those other things later?

Give me a pure heart for You, O God.  Help me to seek You for the sake of You alone.

Photo © Diane Miller

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