Kamis, 05 Februari 2009

Following Him Because of Material Things

The first reason why people follow Christ is because material things they need. We all need food, clothes, houses, cars, money and other things. The Lord Himself promises us that He will provide our needs. That’s why one of His Names is Jehovah Jireh which means The God Who Provides. He is also Jehovah Rohi which means The Lord is our Shepherd. David wrote this in Psalms 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. So, we may come to our Lord and ask Him for something we need. He promises to answer such prayers.

Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart – Philippians 4:6

The problem occurs when we follow Him just because of this reason. One example of this matter is found in John 6. Jesus had just given bread and fish for more than 5000 men plus women and children. They all ate and were satisfied. They still had 12 baskets with bread.

When they were all full, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces left over; let us not waste a bit." So they gathered them all and filled twelve baskets with the pieces left over from the five barley loaves which the people had eaten. - John 6:12, 13

After this, we can see that all the people seek the Lord.

When the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they got into those boats and went to Capernaum, looking for him. – John 6:24

Can you imagine that all of those people were looking for Jesus? Well, it’s really a great revival! Isn’t that what we are looking for? Aren’t we happy if many people are looking for Jesus? But look what is Jesus’ response!

When the people found Jesus on the other side of the lake, they said to him, "Teacher, when did you get here?" Jesus answered, "I am telling you the truth: you are looking for me because you ate the bread and had all you wanted, not because you understood my miracles. Do not work for food that spoils; instead, work for the food that lasts for eternal life. This is the food which the Son of Man will give you, because God, the Father, has put his mark of approval on him." - John 6:25 - 27.

Jesus knew what’s in their heart. He knew their motives to follow Him. He also knows that if we follow Him just because of this reason, someday we will leave Him. It happened to these people. They could not grow spiritually anymore. They could not receive solid food.

I had to feed you milk, not solid food, because you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready for it – I Corinthians 3:2

We can learn from this passage, that if we continue following Him just because of material things, three things will happen.

First, like those people, we will start grumbling.

The people started grumbling because Jesus had said he was the bread that had come down from heaven. - John 6:41

Second, if we’re still on this condition, worse thing will happen. We will strive among us. This really happens even until today. It is no secret that servants of God strive among them because of money.

This started an angry argument among them. "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" they asked. - John 6:52

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? – KJV translation

And finally, the third one will happen if we’re still on this condition, and it’s really a sad thing; I pray that it will never happen on each of us. The people, who once followed Jesus, heard the sermons He preached, saw the miracles He made, ate the bread He gave, looked for Him diligently, finally they left Him and didn’t follow Him anymore. And those people were part of His disciples. They were disciples, not just followers.

Because of this, many of Jesus' followers turned back and would not go with him any more. - John 6:66

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. - KJV translation

It’s a sad thing, if we once followed Him and were His disciples but then we left Him. I pray that none of us will ever do this. Let us follow Him wholeheartedly, not just because of material blessings. He promises us to provide us, to give us our food, our clothes, our houses, cars, money and every earthly blessings as the Bibles says in Matthew 6:33, but let us continue to love Him and follow Him even if we never receive those promises. If we can maintain our heart in this condition, I believe He will provide us with the best things, more than we can imagine.

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? – Romans 8:32

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