Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”John 6:26
People from all times are basically the same. King Solomon said it like this, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecc.1:9. Jesus observed that much of the crowd followed Him because of the food that they had received. Rather than pandering to the people Jesus confronted them. His message was not about provision in this life, His message was about the kingdom of God. In the 1500’s Luther had to constantly deal with the same issue, people would follow God based on what He would do now for them. Here is how Luther described his dilemma.
“Even today, the gospel attracts people who think it will fill their bellies, satisfy their desires, and help them here in this life. This idea is so common today that I have almost become tired of preaching and teaching about it. People, pretending to be sincere disciples, come to hear a sermon. But under this guise, they come only for personal gain. However, the gospel wasn’t sent from heaven in order to allow people to fill their own bellies, take whatever they want, and do whatever they please. Christ didn’t shed his blood for this purpose! The gospel proclaims God’s glory and teaches us how to praise the Lord. God wants us to praise him. He wants us to do what pleases him. If we make God’s honor and kingdom our first priority, then not only will he give us life and everything we need in this world, but he will give us eternal life as well.”
Doesn’t Luther’s dilemma sound familiar? It has been marketed and promoted differently in every generation but the emphasis is always the same. A few years ago the message was called the “faith message”. If you would give to certain ministries and release your faith you would experience the good life now. More recently the terminology has changed. Now it’s more about being a better you or living your best life now. Like Solomon said, “vanity of vanity and striving after wind”. The kingdom of God is about Christ. He is the treasure and the goal, His gifts are just extra blessing. Sure He provides for us in this life but those who know Him would follow Him even if He didn’t.