The food which perishes

John 6:26-27
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
27 “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

There’s a small hole in my car’s radiator. It’s going to cost quite a bit to replace the radiator – as well as get the brakes replaced, the air conditioning fixed, and replace the back tires and get the whole lot rotated. And did I mention new wiper blades? In short, there’s a lot to fix on my car, and I am still paying off the last bit of work I had done. My little car has been very reliable, but it’s reaching the end of its lifespan. I suppose one of these days I will have to replace it. I feel no loyalty to it, but I haven’t the funds to get a new car right now.

Cars are perishable, and so are our bodies. Despite all the hard (and expensive!) work done by health care professionals, someday I shall die. My bones ache some mornings, and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I’m getting old and grey, and, to be honest, it doesn’t really bother me. Why? Because you can heal a cut or fix a broken leg, but someday that flesh and that bone will be laying in a casket. All the doctors and all the miracle-workers are simply postponing the inevitable, just like the mechanics who work on my car.

That may sound like fatalism, but truly it is not. The fact is I fully expect to see miraculous healings going on around me. (Perhaps even a miracle for my car!) I know that we serve a God who heals, but I also know that God will only perform miracles of physical healing and restoration if it is to His glory. Let’s be honest about this: Aren’t there times when we pray for worldly healing and restoration as much to satisfy ourselves as to glorify God? Are there times when we are being selfish and calling “in Jesus’ name” for healings that would simply make us happy – and perhaps remove our inklings of doubt?

In today’s verse, Jesus speaks about such a moment. Just the day before, He had fed the five thousand with five barley loaves and two small fish, leaving behind twelve baskets of bread scraps. (John 6:2-13) When that same crowd followed Him to Capernaum, Jesus rebuked them for following Him for the wrong reasons. In Judea at the time, many people sought a Messiah to make Him king over Jerusalem and to throw out the Romans. Some who followed Jesus simply sought better lives for themselves right then, lives with better health, more food, and less hard labor. And while those are certainly things we might like to have in this life, they are not nearly as important as eating the Bread of Life offered by the Son of Man.

I would love to have better knees and a car with fewer problems, but none of that matters. What matters is my relationship with Christ. How healthy is my worship, my praise, my love for Him? How full is my faith? Or do I have any at all, even a mustard seed? Do I see with eyes of faith rather than with my earthly trifocals? Do I walk with Christ even as I walk to and from work every day? Those alone are the things that matter. All the rest is just temporary. Restored relationships are less important than the forgiveness that starts the restoration. Healed wounds are less important than the faith in God that calls His healing hand to our side. A mended heart is less important than the will to put that broken spirit as an offering at the foot of the Cross.

By all means, pray for healing and restoration, and in faith expect that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But we must understand that the reward He promises to His faithful is not just some reward in this world but eternal life in the next. Seek God and He shall be found by you, but be sure you seek Him for the right reasons. God will certainly provide the things we need, but don’t expect Him to be at our beck and call to merely provide the things we want. Do not simply seek Him for healings of temporary things.

Matthew 6:33
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Gracious God and Father, we praise You today for who You are: our Rock and our Shelter, our Savior and Provider. We do ask for healings, Lord God, and we do ask for restoration, because we know that is the God you are. Let all things we seek be only for Your glory, and teach us, Holy Lord, what is truly important to You. Amen.


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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