The Gospel of John Chapter Six. Jesus feeds the five thousand. Then He disappears into the hills to pray. The disciples cross the sea and Jesus comes to them in the night walking on the water. The next day the crowd that had been fed seeks Him out. And Jesus lights into them.
Basically He says ‘You come to me because you want free food. You to me because of what I can do for you instead of who I am.’
So how about it? Do I follow Jesus for what He does for me? For money and health and protection from the thousand stresses that come at me, right now, here in this life? Or maybe I follow just for the promise of heaven. For this life and the life to come. For me. For me and me alone.
Or do I worship and follow and obey solely because of who He is? Well here’s the test.
What do I do when I’m sick or the bills are past due or the car is broke. Or there’s plumbing troubles. Or job stress. (There’s more. If Satan runs out of ideas I’m a creative guy. I can come up with more.) What do I do?
I can get mad at God. Throw chairs. Shake my finger in His face. (Or get mad at others who bear no responsibility for the problem. That’s kind of the same thing.) But I can get over that. I have to, don’t I?
That one is pretty obvious but here’s where I get stuck. I will hang in there. Keep going to Church. Keep praying. Keep reading the Bible. But all the time I’m in a stressed out fog. I’m doing the minimum to keep myself in relationship with Jesus. Hanging in.
The problem is it’s not working. If I wait for the problems to let up I will be stuck here forever. As soon as one stress inducer fades into the background another one will rise to take it’s place. Or two. Or three. And what God has placed in me is not being used. What God has purposed me for is not being fulfilled.
The trick, the challenge is to keep my head up. To keep my eye on the target (cliche alert). Keep doing what God has put in me to do. In spite of distractions and problems and stresses.
Because I’m not in this for what Jesus can do for me.