Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. (St John 6:27)
Amazing, isn’t it, how you can eat until it hurts tomorrow, but wake up hungry Friday morning?
Amazing, isn’t it, how you can pull in a nice paycheck but wind up always needing more?
Amazing, isn’t it, how you can have a pleasant day at work – but drive home asking yourself, “Isn’t there more to life than this?”
You and I tend to live life at eye-level. By that I mean that you and I rarely look upward or beyond the concerns of everyday life. Sure, you might smile at your children and think what a blessing they are to you, or you might be amazed at the majesty of the solar system on a starry night.
But heaven rarely – if ever – makes its way into your everyday thinking. That’s why Thanksgiving can be such an empty holiday, stuffed with ritual but devoid of meaning.
This Thanksgiving, the Lord Jesus Christ reminds you that he alone satisfies the real needs you have every day; so may this Thanksgiving be a time when you focus on His saving mercy to you. As you thank the Father for the Son, your life will overflow with satisfaction.
One day a crowd of Jews had witnessed something astounding: Jesus had taken a few loaves of bread and some fishes and fed thousands of hungry folks! It was almost too much to believe.
They thought they had it made. They were hungry, and this Jesus cared for their need. So they decided to track him down and perhaps talk about some other needs they had.
These Jews were living life at eye level. No, there was nothing wrong with having a job or needing something to eat. The Lord created you and me and those Jews of Jesus’ day to work and to eat. Work and food are blessings from God Himself.
But these people were obsessed with their stomachs. Certainly they went to synagogue, but the Lord didn’t have primary place in their hearts. They were concerned about the here-and-now: paying the bills, cooking the turkey, having a comfortable life.
And life, for them, ended at that point. No wonder Jesus said they were stumbling around in spiritual darkness.
Jesus offered his audience everything they possibly could want. He offered them a satisfaction that the world never could give.
But they didn’t want his gift. They wanted some more food, some more stuff.
Jesus offered them fulfillment.
He said that if they came to him and believed on him as their Savior, they never would hunger and thirst again. Now certainly they would grow hungry at noontime and thirsty under the hot sun, but Jesus wasn’t talking about the body.
He was talking about their souls.
You probably have those haunting feelings of a full stomach but an empty heart. You wonder about death, about guilt, about hope – weightier issues than what’s for supper.
And here is the Lord, telling you that he’ll meet your deepest needs if you’ll look to him, the life-giving Bread of Heaven, in faith.
Jesus lived, suffered and died so that you and I might be cleansed of our guilt and sin before the Holy God. Your need for forgiveness is the gnawing hunger inside you; your need to know God your Father is the wandering spirit causing restlessness inside you.
Believe on me, Jesus says, and I’ll satisfy your soul with forgiveness and with purpose. I’ll restore you to the person you were created to be.
Through the forgiveness Jesus offers you, he also makes your everyday existence saturated with meaning and with purpose.
You might think your work doesn’t matter to God, because you’re “only” a doctor or teacher or nurse or farmer. Jesus begs to differ.
The heavenly nourishment he offers through his forgiveness doesn’t simply have repercussions after you die; it has profound effects every day of your life. You can live this life not at eye-level but at a heavenly vantage point, asking how you can glorify your God through doctoring or teaching or farming. You can forgive those who hurt you. You can be faithful in cultivating God’s world to His glory.
The world looks at your field and sees opportunity for money and for food. As you feast on the Bread of Life, you must look at your field and see an opportunity to glorify your Lord. And your work, Jesus promises, will have an eternal reward.
A good check for your spiritual state this Thanksgiving is to ask yourself why you’re thankful, or even if you’re thankful.
If you thank the Lord this year for food or for health or for family, then I commend you for it. Praise the Father for all His blessings!
But this year, is He calling you to thank Him for something greater?
Thank Him for His Son, the Bread of Life. Thank Him for satisfying the real longing of your soul by sending the Savior.
And look at your life, your work, your everyday existence from a heavenly perspective. The world lives at eye level … and remains perpetually hungry. Live at a Christ-centered level, and you will be forever fulfilled.