Life Sustaining!!Posted: February 1, 2010
I’ve been on holiday and getting ready for the year – sorry about lack of updates.
My thoughts over the past several weeks have dwelt on life, its purpose, God and His intentions. Sometimes we get it just so wrong. Our focus is on the moment, on personal satisfaction and everyone else’s stupidity.
Travelling through the wonder of Western Australia’s South we marvelled at stunning beaches, amazing forests (God plants forests, men plant plantations), ancient rock formations and deep underground caves. We walked the treetops, climbed giant trees and stood dumbfounded at lighthouses which guarded against the danger of the seas. We met new people, ate new food and slept in beds freshly made up by unseen strangers. It was good because it made me think about God.
This afternoon, my daily lectionary readings arrived on my computer – I still don’t really understand how this all happens but perhaps sometimes its just good to let God do His thing through unsuspecting people. His fingerprint is everywhere. My text today was the delightful words from John 6 … here let me give them to you:
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which* comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’
This morning I was reading an admonition from Eugene Peterson – He said, “The Word didn’t become a good idea; He became flesh!” Yes, yes, yes. He is the bread of life. Do not work for food that perishes, but for that which comes from the Son of Man. Whoever comes to Him will not hunger, whoever believes in Him will not thirst. We sustain our lives, give our life meaning and purpose, not by eating and drinking, but by coming to and believing in Jesus.
Let me explain, I was with an elderly lady this morning who has been told that she has less than a month to live. She told me that she believed in God but not in the church – fair comment, I guess, but she has missed so much, and I think she realises it now. We spoke about her death and about the funeral (the reason for requesting my visit) but I also spoke about Jesus and the life that He intended. When I prayed she wept, first tears of regret, then tears of joy. Regret that she had waited so long to stop and think about God – she hadn’t prayed in over 60 years; and joy, as the Father restored all those years back to her and readied her for her homecoming. She came to Jesus, she believed in Him and she will never be hungry or thirsty ever again. Of course it may happen physically, as the cancer and the treatment kicks in, but her life now has purpose, meaning and potential – even if it lasts only one more month. In that way, she has been more than satisfied by Jesus.