In part 1 of this series we examined the crowd’s behavior the day after the feast of the 5,000 (John 6:23-24) and we ended with the people questioning Jesus about when He arrived on the other side of the lake.
In part 2 we saw Jesus knowing the people’s motives were just to get bread and challenging them and pointing them towards the higher principle: to let their search for Him be motivated by the good principle of “working for the living bread which endures forever and leads to everlasting life.”
Today we will examine what it means for us and the three billionaires mentioned in both columns to feast on the Living Bread.
We are all called to work for the “Living Bread,” the bread that feeds the soul, not the bread that feeds only the body.
First, let’s be clear that the bread is Christ Himself, who is the Son of Man, and the Bread of Life who has come down to earth from God who is in Heaven. He calls for us to feed on Him. Evidently the crowd was confused about this and we can see this clearly in the Message Bible which reads, “Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert” (John 6:31), so they gave Moses credit for their feeding in the wilderness.
Jesus corrects their thinking: “It wasn’t Moses but My Father who gave them bread from Heaven.” Then, they said, “Sir, from now on give us this bread.” This is when Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
This type of faith connects us with Christ, whether we are in the Christian church or just living in the world. Christ can rely on this type of open soul and He uses such souls (whether in church or not) to do the work which will last for an eternity.
In The Secret the Billionaires, the recent television documentary hosted by Barbara Walters, all three billionaires had things in common and they revealed the same principles Christ was teaching the people then and us today.
First, all three billionaires — Lynn Tilton, John Paul De Joria and Tony Hsieh — had failed earlier in life at something while trying to find themselves and all decided not to give up.
Second, all came to understand the key principle to happiness is found in being true to oneself (our calling) by doing the thing we feel most passionate about and refusing to follow the crowd or someone else’s dream.
Third, all concluded that what makes them really happy was not being rich but giving something back and doing something they knew will last long after they have left the earth.
All, without really knowing it are “Feasting on the Living Bread.”
Tilton buys companies and makes them more profitable by restructuring them in an effort to save American jobs and she believes, like President Barack Obama, that the way to fix America’s economy is to keep America working by “building and buying products made in America.”
De Joria makes high-quality shampoo and alcohol that can either be drunk or used to power motor engines. Further, he now spends most his time helping those who are like he used to be: homeless, poor and handicapped.
Hsieh sold Zappos.com, his online shoe company, then elected to remain its CEO, taking only a $36,000 a year salary, as he continues spreading his happiness message to his employees and hiring admittedly weird people who just want to work in a happy place. The company slogan is still: “Great things will happen when you make people happy.”
For Christians, “Feasting on the Living Bread” means having faith and believing in Christ’s work and through Christ doing God’s work, for it is His works in us which subjects our soul to His working through us and it quickens our souls to enable us to work for Him.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org