As I look back on my life and the choices I’ve made, I find a startling reality. Most of the time, I seek comfort. What does that mean exactly? Comfort is the absence of pain, stress and exertion. Easy is another way to define it. Today’s reading of John 6, has me asking questions about Jesus and comfort. Specifically, am I choosing Jesus so that my life will be easier and, therefore, comfortable?
The answer to that question can be found in our prayers and private thoughts. For example, when we pray, or wish, for a better paying job, a new car or another sale, aren’t we really asking to be more comfortable? Don’t get me wrong, those prayers are ok and I do think that God honors them, but we have to be careful. You see, when God provides for our needs, we may reduce him to a sort of Santa Clause, loving him for all the ways he make us comfortable. Thankfully, Jesus knew that this is our weakness. In fact, shortly after feeding the 5,000, the crowd followed him to Capernaum. Their arrival prompts him to give this admonition,
Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
He wanted them to understand why they were seeking him. And, if it is to be fed, there is a problem. His goal is not to feed us so that our bellies are full. In other words, he is not about our comfort. No, He is about who we become internally and eternally. He is talking about our soul. Thinking back to our own prayers, is see that this is why God doesn’t answer our prayers. According to James 4:3,
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
What would it look like if we focused our prayers and private thoughts on the condition of our souls and His deity rather than our comfort? This is the bread of life that Jesus is talking about. It is “soul food.” We will do well to remember this as we wish and pray. I am reminded of a comment in the book Soul Keeping. John Ortberg recounts Dallas Willard’s words, who says, “Your soul is not just something that lives on after your body dies. It’s the most important thing about you. It is your life.” That is a scary comment to me. In fact, it makes me very un-comfortable Why? Because souls are unknown places. I don’t understand what lives there and I don’t know what to do about it. But, Jesus does. He is dying for us to ask Him about it. Pray and wish that with me this week.