John 6:28-29: “They said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’”
Observation: Jesus had just miraculously fed well over 5,000 people on the Tiberias hillside with five loaves and two fish. Then, withdrawing from the main crowd, He used the metaphor of eating and drinking to drive home a central point about God’s kingdom. This was like one of those teachable moments that every parent yearns to be wise enough to notice and take advantage of. He pressed home the lesson that began with the people’s asking, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”
Application: Jesus is nowhere better than when He is in the role of coach, as demonstrated here. Having seen Jesus at the Great Tiberian Cookout, their hunger was to know how they might become more effective.Their question does not seem to contain a dangerous motivation for personal glory, but a growing awareness of the gap between Him and them. It was dawning on them how great, how powerful, how able He is, and how limited they are.
What a perfect posture for a disciple to assume! They had left home and family to follow Jesus; why shouldn’t they desire to be more than a spiritual groupie? So their question, as though from my own heart, is, “How can I be most effective in advancing the kingdom?”
His answer to me is simplicity itself. First, He notices that I ask about “works,” but His answer describes the one central “work” to which I am called. He moves my sight away from works and toward belief. Repeatedly He says that the work of God is for me to believe in Him. That’s all. He is the bread of life (John 6:48). He is eternally refreshing. Stop striving. Simply accept that He is the Son of God, and enter into His life. That is the work of God.
Prayer: Father, thank You for this fresh reminder of the simplicity of life when You are at its core. I make things so complicated, but You are teaching me that more gets done when I rest in You, that awesome works are done when I am still enough to hear Your voice. I don’t need to be so quick to pick up a hammer or turn on my work computer; rather, I need to be hungry to believe in You and the purpose for which You came to earth.