Read John 6.16-27

                When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.

                The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

                When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 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. 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.”

 

From Rev. David T. Chafin, Deputy Regional Minister

What’s your motivation? How weary I grew of hearing those words when in my earliest days onstage I struggled with the elusive craft of acting! My motivation? It was largely to get through a rehearsal without tripping over my own feet or dropping the lines; to not embarrass myself in front of my friends and family; to get to a late dinner and hopefully bed before midnight. My motivations were pretty simple. But the question helped me learn to wrestle with what comes across as genuine to an audience, versus what was clearly the phony fakery of a guy that really just wanted to get through it and get to dinner without embarrassing himself! People can tell, in cases like that.

Jesus could tell, on a deeper level, where people were – whether they were really looking to experience something revelatory and life-giving, or if they just appreciated a free meal. He was making a point.

Often, we in church leadership have tried to make such distinctions with people as well, claiming we can discern the motivation of those who come our way, and can tell when they are genuine and when they are just hanging around for some other “something.” But really? We are not Jesus; and even if we were, it might be wise to notice that he fed them anyway.

Not being privy to the hidden minds and hearts of others is a gift that frees us to joyfully give away all that we have received in Christ. Let that be our motivation and our joy!

 

Lord, you feed us the food that does not perish – the food of eternal life.  

Then you free us to share what we’re given with all who hunger. All praise to you!

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