April 12, 2018 – John 6
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. John 6:27
Put our effort into the things that last forever---serving the Kingdom, reaching people, knowing Jesus, giving to needs, loving God.
One Christmas, Santa brought us a family gift that we really needed – a treadmill. Both Dianna and I wanted to get in better shape, and our daughter Heather just thought it was ‘fun’. So when we had a break in activities, I figured I would try it out with a short run before guests arrived. I started off slow, and increased the speed to race as fast I as I could without falling off. Well … the run was VERY SHORT. It didn’t take long to discover how out of shape I really was! Apparently, my endurance wasn’t as high as my opinion!!! The next day, I started off much slower, and worked on running for 10 minutes, then 20, then 30, and on and on until I could easily run for an hour. It took a while to grow my endurance.
Eternal things in life are much like getting in better shape – they both take endurance. To gain eternal things, you must grow little by little. Endurance doesn’t happen quickly. It starts by putting effort in little things that grow to become strong behaviors --- things like serving God, reading Scripture, praying regularly, giving to needs, inviting people, going to worship. By themselves, it may seem that they are doing very little to help, but when added together, they build up to a strong spiritual life.
Unfortunately, worldly things seem much more rewarding initially. Recreation seems more beneficial than worship, accumulating seems more enjoyable than giving, knowing current issues seems more valuable than knowing Scripture. But taken over time, things of the world never add up. They simply take up time without gaining ground. In a sense, they spoil – because you always have to refresh them to keep up with where you are at.
Eternal things always grow stronger. They build on each other to make you better. Much like a consistent workout routine strengthens the body, spiritual exercise strengthens the soul. You may not see it happening, but an enduring life is being developed.
After improving endurance on that treadmill, it wasn’t long before the treadmill was of little value to me. Soon (when spring arrived), I moved outside and started running miles instead of minutes. Several months later, I ran my first 10K race, then later a half-marathon, and down the road, a full marathon. It’s amazing how endurance can grow from those miserable first minutes on the treadmill! All by simply putting daily effort into little things.
Start today putting “treadmill time” into your spiritual walk. Add a few minutes, put in a new practice, grow your spiritual endurance – and see how God grows your spirit (and your life!).