Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting Bread: Motives Matter

On the job, I am a sound believer of get it done - "it" being a project, an assignment, a standard, a deadline, anything- by any means necessary. At least I used to believe that until I re-read the story of five fishes and the three loaves in Mark 6 v 30-44. Jesus' chief purpose on earth was to draw all men to Him. And it seemed like He was meeting that goal when you read that story. It was a miracle that reached thousands in a way that appeals to most people-- by filling their stomachs!

Everyone likes to eat, right? Every conference, every ceremony, every meeting, we're always looking for the food. So imagine you take time out from your personal agenda to attend a conference. The speaker had been absolutely wonderful. I mean full of good advice and everything. But he's been going on for what seems like hours and now you're hungry! Then you look around the conference room, and find that there is no food set up. No food!

Well that was scene on the mount. The 12 disciples and five thousand curious people gathered on the mount to hear Jesus speak. He's done, but there is no food. Then out of no where, Jesus transforms a boy's small lunch into a feast for thousands. Word must have spread because, before long, Jesus had a following. Two chapters over, Jesus is again feeding a crowd of four thousand with seven loaves and few small fish.

For many of us, we would have folded our hands right then and there and said, "Mission accomplished!" I needed to get the Word out to many, and now there are thousands of people following me. But Jesus knew that motives matter and for many of people in the crowd, their motives were all wrong. In John 6 v 26 He said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled." Jesus was not satisfied with the appearance of a job well done, He demanded excellence.

Do we demand excellence as we complete our work tasks? Or, are we okay with appearances? On the job, our boss hands us an assignment, gives a deadline or sets a standard to be met, and we simply set about getting it done. "By any means necessary!" we shout and then go about completing it the quickest and easiest way we know how. Never mind the typos, never mind the quality is questionable, never mind that we cut a lot of corners. It's done, and that's all that matters.

Believe it or not, motives matter because, just like those followed Jesus for the food, motives shine through. In verse 14 of John chapter 6, a crowd of full people said "This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world." These people's motives were wrong and, because their motives were wrong, they were going about things in the wrong way. In verse 15 it says, "...They were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king..." Jesus fled from these people because He didn't want his miracles to come off as a bribe for political power and status. He knew the true essence of his job.

Do we know the true essence of our jobs? More than just making money, providing a product, or educating people, our jobs are to bring praise to the Father who has enabled us to live our lives and provided the job in the first place. We must do our best, not just to please people or make the big bucks, but to praise of the God from whom all good things flow. And, in adjusting our motives, we will also draw men and women to us. When that happens, just like Jesus we must simply point upwards to the Father.

During Your Quiet Time, Read: John chapter 6 v 1-40.

After Reading, Meditate on These Things: Are you working simply for the bread the passed away or the bread of heaven. Material things are all well and good as long as we don't get caught up in them. We must remember where those things truly come and praise the One who gave them to us. Also, as we work, we must put things in their proper prospective: God is always first. If God is first in our lives, He will ensure that we are taken care of.

If you have read this and you do not have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son, you really check your motives. Just like the hungry people following Jesus for a free meal, you are working your life for all the wrong reasons. All dough we are working hard to make and spend is only for today. It does not ensure us job security nor does it ensure us happiness and joy.

Jesus says, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." God's got all we need and more. All we need to do is go to Him. "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me," Jesus says. "And the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." God provided for Jesus, and He will certainly provide for you. Go to God through His son Jesus.

Pray this prayer:

Dear God,

I am through working for all wrong reasons. I want the bread that only you can give. I trust and accept the sacrifice of your son Jesus Christ you gave to provide for all mankind. Thank you for saving and giving me the gift of life. In your name, amen.

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