Eternity Via Daily Life
You can be concerned about eternal matters within the context of everyday life.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Yes, it’s your friend, Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back with you, and we’re looking these days into the Gospel of John. We’ve come now to chapter 6 verse 22. We talked about the feeding of the 5,000 and the fact that the Lord Jesus came to his disciples walking on the water. And then I gave you a little rundown of the, “Be of good cheers.” You remember that? “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven. Be of good cheer even though you’re scared stiff. I’m here, it’s alright, be not afraid.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Christ is greater than anything the world has to offer. Any pressure that may be leveled against you, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,” the Bible says. And then the fourth was, the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Be of good cheer, you’ve testified for me in Jerusalem and I want you to do the same thing in Rome. I got a job for you to do.”
“Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven. Be of good cheer, I’m with you in the midst of troubles. Be of good cheer, I’m greater than the world. I’ve already overcome the world. And be of good cheer, I got a job for you to do.” That was great, wasn’t it? Anyway, I liked it. [chuckle] Now, the next day, people looked around. No disciples, no Jesus. Where’d He go? Where’d He go? “Well,” they said, “we better see whether He’s gone over at the other side of the lake.” Sea of Galilee. And so, they came to Capernaum looking for Him. Verse 25, “When they had found Him they said, ‘Rabbi, when camest thou hither?'” He said, “Boys, no free lunch today. Ye seek me not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled. Don’t labor for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life which the Son of man shall give unto you, “For him hath God the Father sealed.”
God knows the motives of people. It says, “Thou art acquainted with all my ways. Thou understandest my thoughts. There’s not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it all together.” Second chapter of John said that Jesus needed not that any should tell him of men for He knew what was in man. Our Lord Jesus knew the motives of these people and so immediately when they came He said, “No free lunch today, boys. You’re looking for the loaves and the fishes. There’s nothing like that today. There’s something else today.” Now, notice the change, and this is typical human nature, I must say. Verse 15 of John chapter 6 says, “Jesus perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king.” Here they were, their mouth was full of food and everything was great. And they said, “He’s the one. He’s the one. He’s the messiah. Let’s make Him king.” That’s John 6:15.
Now in John 6:30, we find that same crowd saying, “What sign?” That’s our word miracle. “What miracle are you gonna show us that we may see and believe Thee? What dost Thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert. As it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus said, “Moses wasn’t the one that gave you that bread, my Father gave it to you. But the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, giveth life unto the world. I’m the bread of life.” Now you see the crowd was gonna make him king one day and the very next day they said, “Hey, what do you do? What claim have you got to be so great anyway? Why, our fathers had a miracle meal in the desert, gave them bread from heaven to eat. So how great are you?” I always marvel at the fickleness of human nature when it comes to commitment to the things of God. But then I guess that’s just how we’re built.
And here you have a perfect portrayal of that instability and fickleness of thought and understanding. And you have the Savior patiently pointing out that there’s something more than the kind of food that fills your stomach. We go back then into these verses and I comment on them here and there. First of all, He said, “Ye seek me,” this is verse 26. “Ye seek me not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled.” There was something tangible there that they could [chuckle] quite literally, pardon the pun, sink their teeth into. [chuckle] And that produced then the immediate response that we saw in verse 15. They were gonna take him by force and make him a king. Why? Oh, boy. This is great. Miracles, free lunch. In the history of the Roman Empire, you’ve heard the expression, bread and circuses. The people increasingly demanded that they be taken care of on a welfare basis with bread and that they be entertained. And so, the entertainment spectacles grew larger and the Roman Empire, finally top heavy with its own corruption, fell over.
Eat of the loaves and were filled. “Well,” he said, “there’s something more important than that.” Verse 27, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life which the Son of Man shall give unto you: For Him hath God the Father sealed.” Now, as everybody knows, you have to work for your living. Very few of us are fortunate enough to have inherited enough money to just do nothing or do whatever we please without working at it. Most of us, you and I, have to work, get up, get dressed, get ready for the day, do the things that you’re supposed to do in order that you may count on getting a paycheck at the 1st and the 15th of the month. And I don’t think that our Savior was trying to say, “You should quit your job and not work for that.” The meaning of the verse I think is tied up in the emphasis of this word “labor.” What is the real thrust of your life? What really are you concerned about? What are you laboring at? What are you really working at?
I asked a man one day over in New Jersey, “What do you do, Jim?” I always ask, men particularly, what their work is so that I can sorta get them in the computer of my mind and have them identified. I said, “What do you do?” “Well,” he said, “You mean what do I do to put bread on the table? Or what do I really do?” Well, I said, “Why don’t you tell me both?” And he smiled, he said, “Well, to put bread on the table, I’m an attorney.” And he told me a little something about his particular field of practice in the law. But he said, “What I really work at, my real job, is to introduce people to the Lord Jesus Christ.” And his face just shined as he told me that.
Now I think that’s an illustration what the Savior is getting at. What is the real thrust of your life? I think we have to admit that most of us are incredibly secular in our daily lifestyle. Now I’ve realized you can’t go to work singing, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” at the top of your voice. You work in a bank or in an office, and you come in there singing a hymn loudly or proclaiming Hallelujahs all over the place, and you’ll be in personnel office by 10:00 o’clock and where men in white coats will have you by 11:00, you’d be out of there. I realize that you cannot be officially religious all the time. The fact is, however, that, for many of us, not to say most of us, we compartmentalize our religion to the place where it is neatly kept in place out of site for most of the day, and we don’t do all that much praying at our desks, or at the lathe, or at the drill press, or wherever it may be. See, the real concern of our lives is to survive, to get through the day, to keep from being fired, maybe to get promoted, make it safely to social security, and have a decent funeral, and have people lie about us as we lie there in state. [chuckle]
Well, I’m kidding you a little bit. But you know that our lifestyle, for the most part is incredibly secular, non-religious, non-spiritual. I think what our Lord Jesus is telling this crowd and telling us as we listen in, He says, “Let the real thrust of your life,” to get what lasts for everlasting life. “Let the real thrust of your life be spiritual, be eternal, in things eternal.” Which means then, we’ll come back to my oft-repeated admonition to the students at the college while I served there as president, pray your way through the day, pray when you wake up, pray before you greet your roommate with a loving scenario, pray before your first class, something other than, “Don’t let him call on me today,” pray before you start a conversation with friends, pray before you go on a date, pray before you make a decision about a job or about a life companion or whatever, pray before you go on a trip, pray before you answer the phone, you don’t know who’s at the other end of the wire; pray before you open a letter, you don’t know if it’s a check or a bill, and there is a difference. See, you cut eternity into temporal matters when the thrust of your life is for eternity. You understand me?
This is not a matter of going around being pious. I have a little saying, “If you find somebody who’s always pious, you have to watch him because he’s apt to lie about other things too.” [chuckle] No, God doesn’t expect you always to have a pious, gloomy, faintly ill expression on your face. That isn’t what we’re talking about. The effort to try to appear religious only makes you look ridiculous. Don’t do it. But you can be concerned about eternal matters within the context of everyday life. And you can invite Almighty God into the running of your life through prayer and faith so that all day long, it’s a succession of ordered miracles as you walk in His will and follow His directions. Don’t labor for the meat which perisheth. Your real effort is what Jesus is saying, “Let the real effort of your life not be just to put food on the table.” That’s important. But He says, “For that which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: For him hath God the Father sealed.” “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” That’s one of the verses I learned as a boy before I was seven, John 6:35.
Now another thought here, it’s all well and good for Brother Cook to say you ought to have your major interest in things eternal, and I presume many of you agree with that statement. But how are you gonna make it real? How are you gonna make it work? Jesus said, “I am the bread of life, he that cometh to Me and he that believeth on Me,” have reference constantly to your Savior. Talk to Him. Walk with Him. Ask for His guidance. Submit to His lordship and you’ll find that your life is marked by an emphasis on things eternal. We’ll get at that truth again the next time we get together.
Father God today, oh, may we emphasize the things of eternity in our daily life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, Walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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