Friday, August 4, 2017
What Are We Working For?
John 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 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.”
The people had been miraculously fed and their physical needs satisfied by Jesus. Now, their curiosity had also been aroused for Jesus had not crossed over the water by ordinary means. The disciples had left in a boat but Jesus had somehow crossed over on his own.
This man Jesus was performing all kinds of miraculous signs and they wanted more of what he had. The reality was that Jesus could see right through them and their motivations. They didn’t want to know Jesus, they just wanted stuff from him. However, the bread that he gave them only lasted a day, but the spiritual food he wanted them to devour, would last for all of eternity. They weren’t supposed to be working for things that were temporary, but they were to invest in the eternal. Jesus was offering them a pathway to eternal life and truths, and this was worth working for.
Having the long view of things is not always easy. More than likely we find ourselves right there with the people, thinking about our physical needs and the day's immediate issues that lie before us. Just this last Sunday my husband shared an illustration on the long view in the worship service of the camp meeting where he was preaching. He had several young people stand across the front of the tabernacle holding a long rope.On that rope he tied a ribbon, which represented our current lives, or moment in history. The rope represented God’s understanding of time — all of eternity. We must live in this moment — in this space where the ribbon is tied, and yet, we are to work for the entire length of the rope, which in God’s time has no end.
Once we become kingdom citizens our perspective begins to change. Our values and service are no longer to the things of this world, but to the things of God. God is at working in God’s time, the kairos, rather than our understanding of the chronos. We are invited into God’s kairos which doesn’t necessarily see things in the chronological order of time which we do. Perspectives change when we participate with God’s mission in this world. We begin to work for, and take on the kingdom perspective.
The things that Jesus did didn’t always make sense to those around him for they weren’t participating in his perspective. Jesus invites us into a holy relationship with the Divine that will radically transform our perspective on things. In that space our eyes will be opened to the divine workings of the kingdom and moment by moment we will be drawn into God’s work which is being done with the long view.
Lord, may I not be inundated by the immediate but keep my eyes on you for the long view. Amen.