“Seek the kingdom of God above all else” (Matthew 6:33)Remember the story in Matthew 14 when Jesus fed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two little fishes? Remember reading in the bible how Christ healed the sick and raised the dead? People were flocking to him from every corner of the land. People couldn’t wait to sign up to be one of the disciples of the man with the magic touch. Miracles are a great motivation for followers to – well follow. In fact, the number of followers Christ had was so overwhelming that he would have to hide from the crowds in order to have quiet times of prayer. But then suddenly, in John chapter 6, we are told the atmosphere changed. We read about the multitudes turning away and following Christ no more. Why was that? Why did so many of Christ’s followers stop following him?
The answer is simple. What Jesus really wanted to give the people was not what the people wanted. The people wanted quick answers and easy fixes. They wanted an earthly king who would take away their oppressors and make things smooth and easy for them. An earthly king who would give them an earthly kingdom. But an earthly reign was not what Jesus had for the people. Jesus was a heavenly king who wanted to give them a heavenly kingdom. The people were focused on earthly power. Jesus was focused on spiritual life. The problem was the people wanted to find in this world what only eternity could give them. So, they became frustrated with Christ and turned away. They ended up discouraged and feeling hopeless.
That is the same danger we face today. If you think about it, we are no different today than Christ’s followers were 2,000 years ago. We are all keenly aware that we live in a time of great darkness. What we are seeing in our nation and the world is shameful, disgraceful, reprehensible. But please allow me to give each of us a warning. If we are looking for God to swoop down and destroy the evils of this world, we may find ourselves as frustrated, discouraged, and hopeless as the followers of Christ were in His day.
We will never be able to make any sense of this world, this life, without being focused on eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11tells us that God has “set eternity in the human heart.” What that means is that every human being hungers for paradise. For what is perfect, balanced, and fair. That hunger is what makes us feel afraid and insecure when we see what is going on in our nation – our world. This is not paradise! We will never be content or rest in God’s sovereignty until we stop trying to find paradise in this broken world.
Searching in this world for what only Christ can give us in his eternity, will result in us being as unstable and uncommitted as those multitudes who turned away from him 2000 years ago. Let’s put our focus and our desires on what is to come. This world is nothing compared to what Christ has promised us in eternity.