First Things First

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."

John 6:27 (NKJV)

In our previous study we saw that the Lord is our provider and is more than willing to meet every need we have. The multitude had come to look for Jesus because they had faith in Him and wanted to spend time with Him. They had seen the great signs which He had done on the sick, and so they followed Him. They were not concerned about what they would eat, they just wanted Jesus. John 6:5 says that when Jesus saw the great multitude coming to Him He asked Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" And the Bible says that He asked this to test Philip for He already knew what He would do. Even before the crowd could ask for food the Lord had already thought about it and had made a plan on how He would feed them. When you come to Jesus He takes care of your needs even before you know you have them. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.

On the following day the men who had been fed by Jesus came looking for Him and finding Him on the other side of the sea they tried to engage Him in a conversation, you know, to see if He would repeat the bread and fish miracle. However this time they got it all wrong for 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.", and as you can guess they got no bread on that day. Did they miss bread because Jesus was unable to feed them? Did they miss it because He was not in a good mood on that day? Did they even miss it because Jesus was unwilling to do it? In all the three questions the answer is no. They missed it because their priorities were misplaced. You know nowadays you hear people give all manner of reasons why they failed to receive anything from God. "It was not the will of God to give me that thing," they say, and so many other such things. They want to place all the blame on God. If they are serving God and are getting nothing out of it they want to blame it on Him. The way they talk would make you think that God is unjust, however thank God He is not unjust.

1 Timothy 4:8 tells us that godliness is profitable for all things, having a promise for the life that now is and also for that which is to come. That means that you can't be godly and receive nothing. It is not a waste to serve God, it is profitable, but you must do it rightly. Just because doing business is profitable does not mean that every business out there is making a profit, some are operating in losses because they are doing it wrongly. Just because God is a rewarder of them that seek Him diligently does not mean that every seeker of God is getting a reward, some are not. They fail to receive not because God is operating in double standards and is being unjust to them but because they don't know how to seek Him rightly. Now the signs Jesus did were supposed to cause them to have faith in Him. The first time they came because they had seen the signs and had believed, but the second time they came to have their stomachs filled and they missed it because they didn't come in faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

You cannot please God without faith. Anyone who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards them that seek Him diligently. If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." - John 10:37-38 The works of Jesus were supposed to convince the Jews that He is the Son of God, and being the Son of God He was Almighty and therefore limitless. They were supposed to see Him as God who is all sufficient. The problem with them is that some of them never believed that He is, and so when they came on the second day they could not please Him, and therefore could not get anything. They didn't believe that He was all sufficient. You have to approach God in faith, believing that He is all sufficient for you. The first time the Jews came to Jesus He was all sufficient for them, and so they got all they needed. When you approach God in that attitude you can be sure to have all your needs met.

The other thing we see in Hebrews 11:6 is that God is a rewarder of them that seek Him diligently. Notice what the Word of God does not say: it does not say that God is a rewarder of them that seek what He has diligently. It says that God is a rewarder of them that seek Him diligently. When you seek Him you seek whom He is and not what He has and that is the way it ought to be. When you approach God from that perspective you have a sure reward for when you get who He is you also get what He has. The problem with the Jews was not in seeking diligently, the Bible says that they crossed from Bethsaida to Capernaum to seek Him. It surely would take diligence to row a boat from one side of the lake to the other just to meet someone. The problem was that they had diligence in what Jesus had, and not what He had revealed Himself to be, and as result they missed everything. When your focus is on what God has and not Him you miss the point and you get nothing out of it.

We know that diligence is good for Romans 12:12 tells us not to lag in diligence, and 2 Peter 1:5 tells us to give all diligence. Lack of diligence will make you miss the reward. Serving God in whatever capacity is a good thing and we must put diligence in it. However, we must be diligent in the right things. Our priority should not be in the gift but in the Giver. There are a lot of Christians who do things in church so that they can gain something in return. When they give in church, they do it so that they can receive something in return. All they think about is getting more money, and never how to please God. They are the kind of people that the Apostle Paul talked about in Philippians 3:19, whose god is their belly, who set their minds on earthly things. They want nothing to do with God, all they want is what He has. We don't do things in church so that we can be blessed, we are already blessed. Our service, whatever kind it is, should be an expression of our gratitude, not our greed and desire for earthly things.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Col. 3:1-2 (NKJV)

Set your mind on God, don't set your mind on earthly things. This world in its present form is passing away. Always desire to be found pleasing in the eyes of God. Don't let the desire for this world's goods rob you of God's blessing. Seek after God and when you get God you get all He has.

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