I wrote this a couple of weeks ago.
The sermon today was on John 6:26-36.
Jesus miraculously fed the crowd.
Recently when I taught, God spoke to people through me in an evident way. I love that. But today, in Sunday School, everything I planned went wrong.
|They looked for him again because they wanted more.
|Me: Lord, I’m so frustrated at how Sunday School went. How can I worship you this morning, when I am angry and discouraged about Sunday School?
|Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
|Jesus: Why are you seeking me? What did you learn when I anointed your teaching? Did you learn that I am the source of fruitfulness and meaning? Did you learn that it is worth seeking me above all? Or is it only that you loved the experience of knowing I was doing something supernatural through you?
|Me: (sputtering) Well … well … I know that you give meaning in an eternal sense, but I also wanted things to go well this morning. When it didn’t, that messed up my joy. Maybe it shouldn’t have, but it just did.
|Do not work for the food which perishes,
|Jesus: Think about it, Kevin. After an “anointed experience”, the joy fades for you in a day or two. How often will you need your anointing fix?
|but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”
|Your joy can be more permanent than that. I know you like to see me at work through you, but, you know, I’m still at work even when I don’t use you. Your joy in what I am doing doesn’t have to fade whenever it isn’t happening through you.
|Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”
|Me: OK. So how can I have that joy now? What do I need to do?
|Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
|Jesus: Just let go and trust me. You don’t need to be personally successful.
|So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?
|Me: But how can I trust you to be meaning and fruitfulness for me if you aren’t going to keep giving me experiences like that?
|Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’”
|After all, that’s how it works with other people! They have all these stories about how you make them fruitful! As long as they obey, and surrender to you, then you reach people through them. As long as they have faith, you show up.
|Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
|Jesus: You miss the point. It was never their experiences of anointing and fruitfulness that mattered. It was always just a matter of God being in it.
|For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
|What is “anointing” after all? Isn’t it the Holy Spirit’s presence and work? That’s all that was every really important. The anointing isn’t an experience, it’s a Person.
|Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
|Me: OK, then give that to me.
|Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
|Jesus: You know what to do. Just keep abiding in Me.
|But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.”
|The reason you are struggling is because you aren’t responding in faith right now. (Ouch!)