How to fill your “spiritual compartment.”
by Tami Rudkin
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry . . . (John 6:35, NIV).
People were milling around Taco Bell, looking hungry — and maybe a little angry — because of the growls in their stomachs and the inconvenience of waiting for their food. Some were dressed neatly, others looked as if they had just come from digging ditches in six inches of mud and gunk. They were young and old, salt and pepper, alone and accompanied by others, content and discontent.
My three-year-old son had said he wasn’t hungry, so I went through the line and ordered food just for me. As I was sitting down he announced, “I want something to eat. I am hungry!”
By now Taco Bell was packed. A little exasperated, I said, “You told me you were full,” to which my son responded, “Well, my taco compartment will never be full.”
Great. Despite all the parenting advice I had read, I stood up and went right back to get him a taco. I couldn’t let my child starve, could I?
Seasons of discontent
Different time, similar situation.
Those in the crowd grumbled while they waited. They too were a mish-mash of people, educated and ignorant, priests and pagan, soldiers and singers. They had been part of a miraculous rescue led by God himself. But once again they were hungry and, with pouts on their faces and hands on their hips, they demanded of God. The meat and potatoes compartment would never be full. So every day for forty years, they ate by His hand extended in compassion that only a parent has for his children.
Would they ever be satisfied?
The faces had changed, but years later the same discontented crowds would flock to Jesus day after day. They were in the Promise Land now. They made a living at various trades; they supped on meals of fruit, meat, and wines. They even had leftovers to sacrifice. But an abstract craving was their constant companion — a nagging feeling that there was more life, more freedom, more fulfillment, more satisfaction than they had known.
Through the centuries, humanity has been standing in long bread lines. They stand on one foot, then the other. They visit with those standing in front of them and behind them. And once in a while they jump a little to see if they are getting any closer to what will bring fulfillment. They never leave the line, cemented there by a longing to be accepted, to have purpose, to be called, and to have life — a satisfied life.
The bread line creeps at a slow pace, winding by the booths of monetary success, corporate salutations, religious piety, family blessings, social acceptance, and intellectual achievement. Most stop to sample the various offerings. At these booths the food is presented in a most titillating way, making the mouth water at the very prospect of consuming. But buyers soon find that feasting at these booths is costly beyond their wildest dreams. Regretfully, they realize that the pangs of hunger had only subsided momentarily.
So they move on, hoping against hope that the true Bread of Life is still available, somewhere up ahead, maybe just around the next corner.
And it is.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread . . . which a man may eat and not die” (John 6:47-50, NIV).
Jesus offered Himself to Israel’s children, as He does to us today. The Bread of Life, warm and broken open. The aroma of life abundant, fresh, and satisfying permeates the air. Many sought Him then and were content; many more have found Him since and have discovered meaning to life’s nagging questions.
For once, they have not begged for more. The false fragrance of the worldly booths no longer lure them. The hungry growls of the crowd only remind them of the craving they once experienced. Perfectly designed to fill the spiritual compartment of our lives, Jesus came to earth. The only demand at eternal life’s booth is that we believe and partake fully of the goodness offered there.
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