What Can I Do?
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
In John 6, Jesus fed the five thousand with a little boys’ measly five loaves of bread and two fish. Afterward, Jesus and his disciples left that evening and went to Capernaum. Some of the crowd that He fed got on ships and went looking for Him the next day. When they found Jesus, they asked Him when He got there and Jesus, in short, called them on their crap (Am I allowed to say that? Oh well). The people had impure motives in their hearts, and they weren’t really following Jesus because they believed in Him. In part of their conversation, Jesus tells them not to be concerned with perishable things, but to seek the eternal life that God gives, and you quickly realize what happens is these people were being rascals and didn’t listen to a lot of what Jesus said. All this is just a brief summary of the passage to give you an idea of what I’m about to discuss.
Today I had a really nice talk with a friend that I unexpectedly ran into. It was yet another answer to my prayers. We talked about how we often do good things for God and expect Him to give us a pat on the back for it, when really He’s saying, “That’s nice, but did I actually ask you to do that?” I saw this passage in John 6 shortly after our discussion and it caused me to look into the context, because I wanted to make sure what I was understanding was accurate, and I’m glad I did.
The crowd that was pressing in on Jesus kind of reminds me of myself sometimes, unfortunately. They questioned Jesus, saying, “We want to do God’s works, too. What should we do?” And when Jesus answers them, they avoid the answer they were given. I think we do that to Jesus a lot. We’ll ask Him for guidance and wisdom, He will provide it, and we’re still standing off to the side like, “YOOHOOOOO, that’s not what I wanted to hear!” Like the crowd in John 6, we can ask good questions and do good things with the wrong heart. I mean, what they were asking sounds good and holy, right? They wanted to do the “works of God.” They must have been a bunch of hyper-spiritual super Christians. Turns out that really wasn’t the case with these folks, unfortunately. They ask Jesus to see what He can do in verse 30. They just wanted to see His miracles for personal gain. They didn’t really see the worth in Jesus or understand who He was. We can have frighteningly similar attitudes at times, but we must refocus ourselves by being in the word and in honest prayer before the Lord. We can easily seek Him more for what He can do than for who He is if we do not keep ourselves in check.
Further down in John chapter 6, verse 35, we see Jesus offering Himself to the crowd as the solution to their needs. He does the same for us today, if we will let Him. Jesus HIMSELF is the “bread of life.” He sustains us by the power of who He is. He is the great I AM. We need not worry about perishable things because we can freely eat and drink of Him every day without cost.
Let’s not get so distracted by the things of this world that we think we need. Let’s be a people who love to seek God not only for His blessings and provision, but just also for who He is and what He did for us on the cross.
Grace and mercy, friends.