“For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
God is the provider of all good things. This Scripture recounts the time the Hebrew people were in the wilderness, searching for food. God provided them with enough for the day each day. When they began complaining that they wanted meat, God provided them with meat for each day. God’s provisions give life to the world.
Jesus is not talking about any bread here. He is talking about the bread of life. He is the bread of life; he is that which nourishes and sustains the soul. Think back to the time the Hebrews were in the wilderness. They were instructed to take only the manna they needed for their family. If they took more than their daily share, it would go bad and grow worms before the next morning. Why would they have taken more than their daily share? Perhaps some were tempted with the idea that God wouldn’t provide the next day’s share. Or maybe, they were scared that there wouldn’t be enough for their family. Occasionally, one family might just have a really hungry person. Whatever the reason, the Hebrew people were tempted to take more than their daily allocation of life-giving, life-sustaining bread.
Now think about Jesus as the bread of life. Do we live our spiritual lives like the Hebrew people, trying to store up the life-sustaining bread of Jesus’ presence in anticipation of it not returning for some time? It’s tempting to take more than our share of the bread of life. Jesus will be present with us every day and when we truly believe it and live as though that is true, we will be sustained. However, if we start to get greedy—storing up the bread of life today so we don’t have to go collect it tomorrow—we will never be able to grow.
God intends to provide us with God’s sustaining presence every day. The question is whether we will be committed to collecting it and consuming it every day. As we go through the season to refocus us during Lent, think about your motives in spending time in God’s presence. Do you seek God’s sustaining bread each day? Or are you trying to store it up so that you don’t have to seek it every day? Do you trust God to provide you with your spiritual needs?
Loving God, we are grateful that you are our provider. You are the one who promises to care for us and give us good things because of your intense love and compassion for us. Help us to seek you every day, not for selfish motives, but for the life-sustaining bread you can offer. Amen.