Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
A man like him should have felt anything but dead. He appeared to be as alive as anyone could be. He wanted for nothing, and he passed his time with recreation and traveling. Not only were his needs met, but he had immeasurable surplus. Envy followed him wherever he went. Sure, he could understand why others longed for his kind of lifestyle, but he was beginning to tire of it. No matter how much he gained, he felt as if he were dying every day. Instead of feeling alive, he felt life slipping away. He was starving, going hungry, and nothing he got his hands on could fill him. He did not understand that doing only for himself would not provide real sustenance. To be filled and fulfilled, he would have to do for another.
The God we serve can be a great paradox. Practicality and common sense tell us that we need to receive and take in so that we can survive. After all, it is the feeding of our physical bodies with food and water that keeps these miraculous machines going. Physically, that may be correct. However, it is different in the spirit. Yes, we look for God to fill us because we cannot fill ourselves, but there is a difference when we are looking at spiritual life. The difference is that pouring out also causes us to be filled. When we do for God instead of doing for ourselves, that is spiritual fuel for us. When Jesus says that his food is doing his Father’s work, He means that his fullness and fulfillment cannot be found outside of living according to God’s will. We find satisfaction when we do the work that God has ordained for us to do. It is indeed our sustenance.
Physical food is about consuming; spiritual food is about giving out. The more we pour out, the more we are filled. In the cycle that God has created, we then have even more to pour out. Within ourselves and without God life has no true purpose. This becomes a very short time of self-fulfillment that ends all too soon with no reward. In the end, the realization is that it was all for naught because it was wasted. If we change gears and live for God’s purposes instead of ours, then we find true fulfillment here today and hereafter. This life then becomes not a waste but an invaluable investment not only in ourselves but in others as well. That is true fuel. Father, remind us that our fulfillment comes from our fulfilling your will.