“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
We all want it. We all strive for it. We want the “good life” – money, power, prestige. We want to travel. We want to dine in the finest restaurants. We want beautiful clothes. We want great friends. We want to have good times. We want to age gracefully. We want peace and harmony. These are the outward trappings of our lives. We think these are the things that will make us happy. We spend extraordinary levels of time and energy trying to obtain these things, trying to achieve our goals. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: these efforts may or may not bring you happiness.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
But what about those whose daily lives are a struggle just to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and love? For many in our broken world, the basic necessities of life are out of reach. Hunger, poverty, homelessness, sickness, and hopelessness abound. There’s war, famine, religious persecution, and genocide. There is no peace. There’s a family just around the corner or sitting next to you in the pew who are one paycheck away from losing their home. There’s a single mom who goes to bed hungry just so her children can have a small dinner. There’s a young man across the room with a smile on his face, but feeling empty inside. That couple that looks so happy together, hides the fact that they are on the verge of divorce. That smart and funny little girl riding her bike down the street feels ugly and insignificant.
No matter what our personal circumstance, we want our lives to have meaning, direction. We want to know that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to know that we are good people. We want to know that we are of value. We want to know our lives have purpose. We want no sorrow, no guilt, no shame, no death, no suffering. Here’s the good news: we have these things in Christ Jesus! Jesus gives all of us– rich, poor, hopeful, hopeless– this promise: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Just as his disciples asked, “Lord to whom shall we go?” We know that we need only to look to him. His Word brings us eternal life.
When we speak of eternal life, we need to remember that “eternal” does not simply mean everlasting, time without end. Eternal life is not just something that begins after we leave this earthly life. The original word used frequently in the New Testament is aiónios. This word means quality as well as quantity. For those suffering want, this is Good News indeed! God wants to give you eternal life, in the here and now. He stands ready, with open arms, to receive you into his love and companionship. He is your Father and wants only good things for you.
Those whom God has blessed with plenty need to do what they can to alleviate the suffering of others. This is God’s will that we love one another (serve) as he first loved us. Christians are to do this as children of the Heavenly Father in recognition that we are one big family and God has provided enough for all. Not only are we to share our time and our possessions, we are to share words of comfort and consolation. We are to share the Words of eternal life: the Word of Jesus our Lord.
Our Father in heaven, open your ears to the cries of your children. Send your Spirit into our hearts that we may hear your Word of Eternal of Life and share it with all people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Have a blessed day,