Goodies That Spoil

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I happen to be the only member of our family who will eat mincemeat pie. That's fine with me. Don't feel bad for me. Certain holiday seasons of the year, my wife or my sister-in-law will indulge me with my very own mincemeat pie. And it is my very own! Sharing is not really an issue here. Now, what I do since I don't get it very often is I try to make it last, because I don't get a lot, you know. So, I take these small slices over an extended period of time. Oh, it's great! One problem: If I make it last too long, it starts to lose something. It's called freshness. A lot of times by the time I get to the end of that pie, I kind of wish I'd eaten it faster. See, that's the sad thing about a treat like that. It starts spoiling the minute it comes out of the oven. Maybe I should eat the whole pie at one sitting next time. Actually, a lot of life's rewards are like that...spoiling.

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 6, and it begins with verse 15 after the feeding of the 5,000. It says, "Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force..." Now, wait a minute. You'd think it would say here, "...He went to meet them." No, it says, "He withdrew again to a mountain by himself." Verse 26, when they chased Him across the lake of Galilee and catch up with Him Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, you look for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval."

You notice Jesus talks about food that spoils here. He just gave them a lot of food, and now He's talking about food that spoils. One of the issues that He seems to be referring to here is human approval. When they wanted to make Him king, they didn't really want Him to rule their lives. He refused to compromise to get human approval. In fact, He withdrew from them. Then He announces here that He can satisfy their souls, not just their stomachs. And He declares what food He's after...food that doesn't spoil - God's personal seal of approval.

In fact, in John 4:34 Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." Jesus knew what we all discover - that the approval of man is very short lived. Oh, you can get a standing ovation one day, and you can be everybody's target the next. Like my mincemeat pie, people's applause starts to spoil from the moment it comes out of the oven.

The salesman who was last week's hero is this week's goat. Hey, who cares what you sold last week? The athlete who was cheered last game is jeered this game. Who cares about what you did last game? The newspaper that had your name in it yesterday, is wrapping somebody's garbage today. The position you held for so long has been filled quickly by someone else, and you're a memory in that place where you gave so much. It's food that spoils - human approval...human applause. We're approval junkies...addicted to approval. We make all kinds of sacrifices to get other people to like us, only to have them turn on us, disappoint us, forget us later on.

Jesus said, "Don't work for it." Once you arrive at the point where only God's approval matters, oh man, you are wise; you are free at last. You're wise because you'll make decisions based on what's good for a long time, not for what will get you liked today. You're free because you don't have to complicate your life with riding the public opinion roller coaster. It's so satisfying to live for what's right, rather than for what will get you through.

The only vote that matters is your Heavenly Father's smile. His goodies last. Psalm 16:11 says, "You will show me the path of life at your right hand, our pleasures forever more." The rewards men give you are goodies that spoil. But in the words of 1 John 2:15, "He that does the will of God abides forever."

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