In the meantime, the disciples pressed him, “Rabbi, eat. Aren’t you going to eat?”
He told them, “I have food to eat you know nothing about.”
The disciples were puzzled. “Who could have brought him food?”
Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started.” — John 4:31-34, The Message
Sometimes I read and stop and think and can’t stop thinking about what it was that I just read. Today is one of those days. I was reading and just stopped with that last sentence. I couldn’t keep going. It was just done-zo after that.
So often in our American Christianity we think of spiritual food simply as the Scriptures. Please hear me, I am not downplaying the importance of the Scriptures in our spiritual lives. Nor am I downplaying the role of prayer in our spiritual lives. What I want to say is that maybe we have over emphasized the Bible to the point that we have missed something crucial to our spiritual development.
For Jesus, the food that keeps him going is doing “the will of the One” who sent him. It was living, acting, doing. Spiritual food was not sitting and studying the Bible. Though, Jesus clearly knew his Bible. It was not sitting and only praying. Though, Jesus actively sought time to get away and pray.
His spiritual vitality came from living out his faith. Jesus was fully engaged in the world living out what he taught.
Jesus was doing things.
For Jesus, spiritual vitality did not come about from hiding out in a holy huddle. No, it came from living his faith by loving people and pointing them to the glorious One that sent him.
The work that “One who sent” him had started was the work of calling people into relationship with the divine, renewing the covenant promises, bringing the history of God’s people to its dramatic conclusion where exile was ending. In a word, reconciliation.
Reconciliation could only happen if Jesus acted in the world and the did the work before him.
The same is true for us. We will find a greater vitality of faith as we live it out in the world. Our faith will become more real to us as we try to love people. This demands that we leave our study rooms and prayer closets and find our way to the neighborhoods, cafes, pubs, bowling alleys, schools, restaurants, golf courses, and anywhere else there are people who need to see love, grace, and mercy in action.
Are you feeling a bit dry in your spiritual life? Go serve. Do you need help finding a place to serve? I can help with that. There are many needs all around us if we just lift our heads and start looking around.