The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Perhaps you work or volunteer for a nonprofit where these words aren’t mentioned: “Let’s do more with less.” Or, if it’s put in a more positive tone, “Work smarter, not harder.” If these words haven’t been hear around your nonprofit, count yourself lucky. It means the nonprofit is fully staffed, has money to spare, and isn’t forced to consolidate when there’s a lack of resources. For the rest of us, the “opportunities” abound to get creative when a coworker leaves, when the money isn’t there, or another resource (including time) isn’t available.
The passage above follows the feeding of the 5,000 men (plus women and children). Jesus heard the masses when the resources were few. For those who were there, Jesus seemed like the ultimate resource to never be hungry again. They followed him around, crossing the lake to get to him.
Jesus, on the other hand, kept at his mission. He tried to redirect the crowd from the temporary to the eternal. The perception change was hard for the people to grasp. If you read further into the chapter, they pester him more about miracles and food than about their hungry souls.
I think that’s why I kept missing John 6:29. I understood that Jesus was pronouncing himself as the Bread of Life in the chapter as a whole. But John 6:29 was a hidden secret. This verse struck me while listening to Pray As You Go. I usually pick up on the fact that Jesus is talking about the supernatural, and the people around him are hung up on the natural. And yet, I’m one of the people, missing what Jesus is saying: When resources are slim, that’s when God is abundant.
When you’re asked to do yet one more thing that is “duties as assigned,” it’s not a sign to “work smarter, not harder.” It’s a sign to stop and believe. When you find yourself overwhelmed with the need for natural things, it’s the moment to see God to the supernatural. When you find yourself trying to do more with less, that’s the time to see God multiply resources while you simply believe.
Jesus was right (as usual!). The work of God is to “believe in the one he had sent.” And that’s how to work for the Lord. How does that look practically? Leave a tip for others below on what that looks like for you.
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© 2022, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.