Seeking the Face of God
This past Monday in my church's young adult "Awaken" Bible Study I was reminded about a subtle but very important truth. The study was over John 6, where Jesus famously feeds the 5,000 by multiplying a boy's paper bag lunch. An incredible miracle was accomplished and the crowd was blessed; But later in the passage we discover that the crowds were coming to Jesus for all the wrong reasons.
In John 6:26 Jesus responds to the crowds earnestness: "Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." The people were not coming to Jesus because of who he was or what his message proclaimed. They were coming to him in the hopes that they would receive more bread! "Great miracle yesterday, Jesus, could you do it again today?"
In the following verse Jesus tells the crowd, "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."
The people were missing the point. Instead of coming to the Bread of Life for true nourishment, all they wanted was more bread. "More blessings, please. Give us more excitement." It could be said that the people wanted the "things of Jesus" instead of Jesus Himself.
Now before we point the finger at the shallow nature of the Hebrew masses, we should each take a look in the mirror ourselves. How often we do the exact same thing? It is easy to come to Jesus with a laundry list of requests; we are needy people and we need God to show up in our life in drastic ways. Our prayers include healing, revival, spiritual renewal, cries for help, salvation for the lost, our nation, and general blessings. We want to see God work mightily in our lives, our communities, our world--as we should! Prayer is the very lifeline of the Christian and that cannot ever be overstated.
But in our desire to see God's blessings and His mighty works in our day, may we never miss Him in the process. One of my professors at Grace College once said, "Do not seek the hand of God, without first seeking his face." I am not sure if that was his original quote or not, but the point remains. When was the last time you came to God for no other reason then to: worship, commune, and abide?
In our fervent supplications and desires for his gifts (that He does give liberally), let us not forget that the greatest gift is Him--and what He gives in Himself.