When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking 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 to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
I had every practical reason to want to work for him. First, I knew that working in that office would be a boost to my career. The business was well-known not only within the industry but outside the industry as well. Second, the salary was better than most. Yes, I certainly would have earned my money there, but the compensation was more than worth the work. Third, I would have been able to develop important business connections through my work there. Anyone would have said that these were great reasons to go after that position, but I had another reason. I wanted to work closely with him so that I could learn the things you cannot learn in the classroom. I was looking for the greater thing that would be the culmination of all he could teach me.
There certainly are practical reasons why we should desire to follow Jesus Christ. First, He guarantees provision. We know that with Jesus we will not be in want. Second, He gives us a community to which we can belong. These brothers and sisters provide support and encouragement when we need it. Third, following Jesus gives us purpose. We do not need to worry about floundering about the world without goals. However, there is something that is the greater culmination of everything we can learn or receive from Jesus. The eternal food that we get from him is the promise of salvation and a life forever with God. This is much more than physical provision or community or purpose. This promise of eternity really is the capstone of all we could ever hope to gain through Christ.
A person can wander around the world for an entire lifetime looking for that one thing. Some people think that they find it in temporary pleasures, but we know that we are wired for our hearts to lean toward eternity. There are many little things that seem to fuel us and keep us going for a moment here and there, but those things are not real fuel. We are looking for our tanks to be filled with substance that will last. We are looking for a way that we can keep from ever getting close to empty. What the Father offers through his Son is a guarantee of eternal peace and communion with him, which should fuel us through whatever challenges we meet in this life. Father, when we feel like we are running on empty with nothing left to give, remind us that we have everything there is to gain through Jesus Christ.