Thank God For His Eternal Food! Stewardship Sunday 1

John 6:25-35

British author Charles Dickens once said, “We are somewhat backward here in America. Instead of having just one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364.”  “Use that one day just for complaining and griping,” he said. “Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings he has showered upon you.”  That’s something we quote here every Thanksgiving, but you know what, there has been so much to give thanks for that, if I saved that quote for Thanksgiving, it would be doing a disservice to this perfectly amazing text before us today where Jesus reminds us to think about what truly satisfies us, and therefore what truly makes us thankful.

We’re going to spend the next couple of weeks before Thanksgiving rejoicing over what God has given us.  No, what God has heaped on us- and we’re going to rejoice.  And we’re going to respond.  And we’re going to be in heaven together because of what Jesus has given us!  So let’s Thank God for His Eternal Food!  The food of this world will spoil!  Thank God for Jesus- the Bread of Life!

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.

Jesus just fed 5,000 people, just saved Peter’s life from drowning and people were looking for him.  Because they were hungry.  And Jesus was ready to deliver faster than Jimmy Johns: “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.  So how many of you work for food that spoils?  I do.       And I love them.  I can’t help it.  I do.  But food like this, as nice as it is at the get go, I’m telling you, the long-term benefits are what?  Well, the immediate one is heartburn, but after that you put on weight, it makes you tired, it becomes almost addictive, it clogs your heart, all the terrible things that the doctor tells you to avoid.  So what do you do?  I hope you start changing what feeds you.  More things that are good for you, more things that actually might end up burning calories, or adding them waaay more slowly so that you can keep them in check… but you know that’s not the only kind of food Jesus was talking about here.

People were coming to Jesus because they wanted him to take care of their physical needs.  They were putting their earthly needs and wants over their heavenly ones.  And that wasn’t going to take care of them.  It wasn’t going to feed them.  But he had the food that does.

So Jesus talks to us, right?  The world of today hasn’t changed a whole lot from the world of Jesus’ day, has it?  Instead of people looking to God for food that changes their soul, they make God into some fast food drive thru that they expect to serve them in 5 minutes or less or else they better get a free pie or 20% off their bill!  People today are looking to God, when he suits their needs, when he fits their picture of what God should be and make his Word what they want it to say, not reading what the words on the page are trying to feed them.  And we do the same thing.

How many of us this past week have come running to God looking for a cheap hand out when as we look back on this week we never cracked open the Bible, we never had a devotion, we worried about our situation, we didn’t just question God’s plan but got plain ol’ frustrated as it enfolded before us in a way that we weren’t ready to swallow, and still aren’t… we forget the words of God that he will be with us always to the end of the age, that he will work through all for the good of those who love him, and we forget his loving reminder, come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest! 

We forget what thanksgiving is.  Yet here Jesus stands.  He didn’t run from these crowds.  And he doesn’t run from you.  Instead he feeds us.  To our very souls.

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.”

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.

The people came begging Jesus, “Give us this food!”  And Jesus said, it’s me.  I’m here to provide for you in a way that you don’t understand yet, but we do.  We do.  We know how Jesus fed our greatest need- our soul’s craving to know that God loves us, to know that God has a plan for us- to know that God saves.  And so God the Father placed his seal of approval on His Son.  His only Son.  God placed his seal of approval on him as he spoke to these crowds and fed them with true life- follow me.  See the work of God- believe in the One he sent.  For you.  For your soul.  To feed your hunger and quench your thirst for forgiveness and peace.  Thank God for this simple gift friends- Jesus has lived and died and rose to feed your soul the Bread of Life that no one will ever take away!  Rejoice!  Rejoice in the Bread of Life!  Rejoice in your baptism!  Rejoice in the Supper of forgiveness!  Rejoice in the Bread of Life! Amen.

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