Daily Reading & Meditation

Monday (May 5): Labor for the food which endures to eternal life
Scripture: John 6:22-29

22 On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However, boats from Tiber'i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper'na-um, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal." 28 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

Meditation: What do you most hunger for - wealth, peace, health, love, the good life? Jesus addressed this issue with those who sought him after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Were they simply hungry for things which satisfy the body or for that which satisfies the heart and soul? Jesus echoes the question posed by the prophet Isaiah: "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy" (Isaiah 55:2)? There are two kinds of hunger - physical and spiritual. Only God can satisfy the hunger in our heart and soul - the hunger for truth, for life, and for love.

Jesus also spoke about the works of God and what we must do to be doing the works of God, namely to believe in God' Son whom he has sent into the world. Jesus offers a new relationship with God which issues in a new kind of life: A life of love and service, and the forgiveness of others which corresponds to God's mercy and kindness; a life of holiness and purity which corresponds to God's holiness; and a life of submission and trust which corresponds to the wisdom of God. This is the work which Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you hunger for the bread which comes down from heaven and thirst for the words of everlasting life?

"Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the deepest longing and hunger in our hearts. May I always hunger for the imperishable bread, that I may be satisfied in you alone as the True Bread of Heaven. Nourish and strengthen me that I may serve you with great joy, generosity, and zeal all the days of my life".

Psalm 119:23-30

23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight, they are my counselors.
25 My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me; and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness, I set your ordinances before me.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: God is our landlord, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

"Our wish, you see, is to attain to eternal life. We wish to reach the place where nobody dies, but if possible we do not want to get there via death. We would like to be whisked away there while we are still alive and see our bodies changed, while we are alive, into that spiritual form into which they are to be changed when we rise again. Who wouldn't like that? Isn't it what everybody wants? But while that is what you want, you are told, Quit. Remember what you have sung in the psalm: 'A lodger am I on earth'” If you are a lodger, you are staying in someone else’s house; if you are staying in someone else’s house, you quit when the landlord bids you. And the landlord is bound to tell you to quit sooner or later, and he has not guaranteed you a long stay. After all, he did not sign a contract with you. Seeing that you are lodging with him for nothing, you quit when he tells you to. And this, too, has to be put up with, and for this, too, patience is very necessary." (excerpt from Sermon 359A,8)


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author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.
 

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