As a child my mother taught me that “breakfast is the most important meal and eating it would help me do better in school.” So, it became my custom to eat breakfast. Being from Mobile, Alabama, this meant eating a big breakfast with grits, sausage and eggs. She said, “Grits was a sturdy food and they would stick to your ribs.” This was a breakfast that would last me until lunch time. Many of us eat different things for breakfast. Some of us eat light foods, like cereals, smoothies and energy drinks.
Today too many are feeding on light food, and working for things that are lightweight, and that make life easy. What we should be eating and working for are things that are permanent eternal that fulfill God’s purpose for us in life.
How do we know the difference? Things that are temporary typically are easy and cost money, including the proverbial McDonald’s “Happy Meal.” Things that are permanent fulfill us, have eternal significance and generally are things money cannot buy.
Jesus in John (6:27) tell us, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Food and work go hand-in-hand. Today many refer to what they earn in income from their work, as “bread”.
The people back then wanted a sign from Jesus, like the one Moses did when the people complained in the wilderness, “Then the Lord said to Moses, I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” Exodus 16:1-4
They, like many of us, complain and need proof, in order to believe in Jesus. They asked Christ to produce manna. But instead, Jesus told them in John 6:24-35 NIV, “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Sir, they said, always give, us this bread. That’s when Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
When by God’s grace we are allowed to find bread we in fact find salvation and begin to live a life of faith. Sometimes we let an unholy temperament as the people had in the wilderness lead us astray. That is when our service becomes unacceptable to God, and results in gossip, complaining and murmurs.
Jesus is the Bread of life that God sent down from Heaven. He denotes the Divinity of God on earth, He who came in person and was been given special authority to feed us “The Food that Lasts.”
God, who is Jesus’ Father, gave Israel’s ancestors food from Heaven to support their natural lives, and now once again He who gives us the bread for the salvation, He gives us bread for our souls.
Christ was teaching then and now that He is bread for our souls. What the bread was back then to the body, He is now to our souls. He nourishes and supports our spiritual lives, and it is He who is “The Food that Lasts.”
When His grace is allowed to live in us, we show a more holy temperament, we then do and show more acceptable acts of faith toward God. That’s when He feeds us the true ‘Bread of Life,’ and what we then feast on becomes eternal Food.
God used the daily supply of Manna in the wilderness to test Israel, to see whether daily they would trust Him. And to see if they would be satisfied with the bread He supplied on each succeeding day.
Christ is “The Bread” of Divine origin. God uses as “The Living Bread” daily to test us, to see if we can be satisfied daily feeding on His body and His word.
As the Bread of Life, Jesus’ body is “The Food that Lasts” and He is the food, like my grits, that will last, because like grits, He will stick to the ribs of our souls!
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org