John 6:27 (NIV): “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Because we are physical creatures, it is very easy for us to focus on the physical needs and wants of our bodies, even at the cost of spiritual life and health. But regardless of our physical “packaging,” we must remember that when God breathed His breath into Adam, Adam did not become merely a living body, but a living soul. That living part of him was built to live forever in God’s presence. After Adam sinned, the body God had fashioned for him became mortal, subject to pain, sickness, suffering and, ultimately, death. But his soul was still immortal, meaning that even after his physical body died, he would still live forever, either eternally in God’s presence, or eternally away from Him.
People today, just as in Jesus’ day, are still immortal. They will still live forever in one of two states. Thus, while physical life still exists in the body, it is vital that a high degree of focus and attention be placed on spiritual health, the care and feeding of the soul. Those who focus all of their attention on the body, catering to its wants and needs while neglecting their souls, are feeding and nurturing and putting all of their attention on the part of them that will ultimately die and decay, while ignoring the part of them that will live forever!
The people who followed Jesus across the lake after He fed more than 5000 of them were very physically focused. Their focus was on making Jesus their king so that the times of physical plenty would roll across the land. But Jesus tried to refocus their attention away from the physical world (food that will ultimately spoil) to the eternal dimension (food that will endure to eternal life, which only He can give). But as the conversation went on, it became very clear that their key focus was on the here and now of their very physical needs and wants. And many refused to follow Jesus from that time forward.
He finally turned to His 12 closest disciples and asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” (6:67). Peter’s answer shows the right focus for a disciple of Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (vv68-69). Here was a group of men whose deepest longing was not mere physical food, but the Bread of Life Himself.
Father, help us to keep our priorities in the right order. Help us to keep our main focus on the spiritual, eternal side of us, even at the cost of our mortal, physical side. Help us to not focus on bread that will spoil, but to hold our attention on Jesus, the Bread of Life that You have provided. Amen.