Maintenance vs. sustenance.
I don’t know if this is a new idea or something that has been brought up to me in that past that I’m just now recalling… but it’s just about to consume me.
I have spent the last several weeks becoming more and more aware of the fruitless pursuits of my life. My intentions are to pursue Jesus with everything, but I’m still continuing in worldly pursuits. Hopefully some familiar imagery of Peter walking on water can help illustrate my point. Peter looks at Jesus walking on the water, sees the impossibility of the entire situation, and is then called to step out. Peter is obedient and steps out. He’s standing on water. In my life, I’m standing on the water, staying afloat, but I’m wearing a life jacket. Jesus isn’t going to look at me and say, “Now that’s faith and obedience right there. You’re standing on the water!” He’d probably shake His head at me as I boast to my friends about the miracle I just performed.
So let me translate this to real life. I know Christ, I understand His calling for all of His followers to go, I go on mission trips to make His Name known, I seek Him to be the first in my life. Yay! I’m walking on water! All of these things truly are miracles and the work of Christ in my life. But what bothers me is this horseshoe life jacket that is kind of itchy and scratches against my neck (you’ve worn one). I’m working an 8am to 5pm job that usually requires me to work 7am to 9pm or 10pm. I have a house. I have a car. I have a wife. I have things.
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.”
(This post originated a month or so ago. Thankfully I was presented with the above Scripture tonight and was able to draw the parallel to my maintenance vs. sustenance postulate.)
These people had their temporary needs met and they wanted more. Their food digested and they were hungry again… so they went back to the one that met that need. Maintenance.
My car, my clothes, my status, my job, my home, my friends, my salary. All of these things have standards set by someone, somewhere. And I have to meet these standards…. and believe it or not, they’re not easy to meet or maintain. The car breaks, the clothes stain, the weeds grow. Our lives are centered around maintenance… Maintaining an appearance… Maintaining the American Dream.
“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.”
Jesus said to these people, ‘Look. I’ve got a bread that will satisfy your hunger for eternity. Quit pursuing this earthly bread that doesn’t last and pursue me.’ He didn’t say, ‘Lay back and I’ll give you my bread.’ He said, “Work… for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Sustenance.
I want to be sustained. Maintaining the things of this life is tiring… and futile. Jesus said that He is the source of food that endures to eternal life. That’s what I want. Don’t give me any of this temporary bread that meets my temporary needs. Give me a bread that ultimately satisfies all of my hunger for eternity. Sustain me with who You are.
If you are spending your time or efforts on anything that you can’t take with you when you die… then what is the point? Measure your life up against eternity and you’ll realize that you don’t have any time to waste. Don’t maintain your life, your status, and your possessions. Be sustained… by pursuing Christ and receiving His gift that meets every need and every desire.