After miraculously feeding five thousand men and walking on water, Jesus went to Capernaum. When the crowds Jesus had fed discovered he was gone, they followed him and, upon finding him, asked when he had arrived (vs. 22-25). Jesus knew that they wanted only another free meal, and so admonished them, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life…” (vs. 26-27).
Our Lord knows that we need to devote some attention to work for material necessities like food (Gen. 3:19), so he is not telling us that we shouldn’t work for physical food. Rather, he is telling us to not give our primary attention to the material things of this life. Our primary focus should be on obtaining that which will give us eternal life (Col. 3:1-2; Matt. 6:25-33).
It’s no secret that God tests our faith and loyalty to him (Gen. 22:1-12; Heb. 11:17). It’s easy for us to sing None of Self and All of Thee…but do our actions back up our words when tested by God? On Super Bowl Sunday at churches that offer evening worship services, will we choose to not assemble to worship our God and learn from him because we’d rather watch the Super Bowl…or will our focus be primarily on what will help us obtain eternal life? Today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter, will we take a decent amount of time before or after work to study God’s Word and pray to him…or will recreational activities or more work be more important?
God tests our loyalty every day. Are we passing his tests? Are we truly laboring for the food that endures to eternal life?