Looking for Loaves in All the Wrong Places

nutritional content

Today’s readings (click below to open in a new tab/window):
Psalms 122; 149, Genesis 18:1-16, Hebrews 10:26-39, John 6:16-27

Carbs are the enemy of faith.

After miraculously feeding five thousand people with only five barley loaves and two fish, Jesus and his disciples waited until evening and moved across the Sea of Galilee from Tiberias to Capernaum. By morning the crowds had found them. Jesus declared to them: “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for 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 for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” The people craved the bread, yet didn’t understand the root of their hunger.

If we have poor eating habits, we often aren’t able to distinguish between cravings and hunger. We know we want something and turn to sugary, fatty foods for a quick fix. They are tasty and relieve our immediate needs, but only for a short time. The more we try to satisfy our hunger with carbs and fat, the more we crave, and in the long run we feel worse. Dieting often fails because instead of making a true lifestyle change as nutritionists advise, we turn to short-term solutions which focus on weight instead of health. When our goals are met, we drop our vigilance and unhealthy habits creep back in. It’s not entirely unlike a cycle where we berate ourselves for our sinfulness and try to overcome it through own strength rather than Christ’s, only to find ourselves in the same place when we can’t resist the cravings.

What’s the nutritional content of our faith? The prosperity gospel teaches us if we say the right prayers or tithe the right amount, we will be rewarded with material goods. Some churches are all about the entertainment value of a worship service because they value high attendance over deep experience. Designed for high volume and low quality, these are more business model than ministry – fifty million served, but not called to serve. Christ calls us to a lifestyle change. He doesn’t tell us what we want to hear or what makes us feel good; he tells us about the food of eternal life. Jesus’s lean meats and broccoli may not sound as much fun as hot fudge Sundays, but he’s saving our lives.

Comfort: The more faithfully we follow Christ, the less we crave the things that don’t feed our spirits.

Challenge: Clean your spiritual cupboard; meditate on discarding teachings that prey on your cravings and filling yourself with those that satisfy eternally.

Prayer: Lord, I will rely on your strength rather than my own. Amen.

Discussion: What do you crave that you know isn’t good for you?

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