Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. John 6:51
Sitting at my kitchen table this morning I began to ponder my oatmeal. I have just spent about 20 minutes gathering together my supplies, bringing my water to a boil in preparation, patiently awaiting the proper consistency of the oats as they sit in the boiling water, filling my bowl with the ingredients that I love to have mixed in with my oats, slicing and pouring, all in preparation for the first meal of the day. Then, after stirring, while enjoying a whiff of the lovely aroma of cinnamon, I slip my spoon in and pull out a scoop of delicious nourishment, which I will need to get me through the day.
I have never spent much time or attention on what I am doing in this morning ritual which I go through on a fairly regular basis. What am I doing? I am feeding my body with the things it needs to sustain life.
Jesus said many interesting things in his ministry. One of the most interesting, and controversial it turns out, is what He said about us eating His flesh. I have wondered about the “eat my flesh” passages and why Jesus used those words. Most of the people in the crowd thought He was a madman after that and they left Him. I know He is not a madman so, instead of leaving, I lean toward the apostle’s position and say, “Well, to Whom would I go, Jesus has the words of eternal life.” I’ve come to trust in Him and I’ve come to realize that if there is someone confused in this scenario, it’s me. So, I’ve wondered and I’ve pondered.
This morning, as I sat at my kitchen table eating my delicious oatmeal, I pondered Jesus’ words again. I understand consuming oatmeal for nourishment, for sustenance, and for pleasure. If I never took the time to prepare a meal for myself again, I would not live. This food gives me life. I spent a moment thanking God for the provision of food that sustains my life.
Then I thought about Jesus’ words. Jesus is my spiritual food. He nourishes my soul; He sustains my spiritual life. He is a delight and without Him my life would lack the things that only He gives me; joy, hope, peace, direction, strength. If I never spent time with Him in reading the Bible, in prayer, in listening, I would not live. All the things that my physical body needs, my spiritual body needs. My life cannot be sustained without either one.
So, as I ate my oatmeal this morning, perhaps for the first time ever, I truly thanked God for His provision that gives my body life. God provides the oatmeal, through the grains, the sun, the rain, the ground, the workers that till the field, and all that the oats need in order to become oats and find their way to my pantry. Thank you, God for providing all of that for me. Without You I would die.
And I truly thanked God for His provision that gives my spirit life. God provided His Son to be incarnated and walk among us in order to teach us and show us our Father. He provided Jesus to fulfill all of the Old Testament prophesies and the law. God provided His Son, Jesus, to come and do the dying for us so that we do not have to. He provided the soldiers and the Pharisees and the Governor to rise up against His Son and arrest Him and crucify Him. God provided the resurrection of His Son from the dead. And God provided the Holy Spirit who brings us to life.
“Thank you, Father” is a very small phrase for me to say. It does not encompass nearly enough of the depth of meaning behind it but when I say it with sincerity, it is all I have to offer to our wonderful, gracious, generous God who loves us so much that He has provided all that we need for life. And its all He wants.
Understanding and trusting who He is and all that He has done is all that God wants from us.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17