"This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
When I became a Christian, I never would have imagined that belief would be work. It seemed so easy, so natural. And I suspect that for most Christians, belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, is quite natural, like turning one's head to look at the face of one whose voice has been speaking from the side.
But belief in Jesus is more than this. Imagine that the voice to our side is loving relative, perhaps a grandmother. My grandmother was one of the smartest people I knew. I was interested in what she said even when I become an all-knowing teen or an "I've-got-my-own-ways" young adult. When she spoke, I listened, partly because I loved her, but so often because she was so wise. She rarely gave me advice, yet spoke to me candidly, not only from her heart, but often from my own. How she did that, I don't know.
I rarely had the opportunity to disobey her, probably because I don't remember her telling me what to do. I treasured not only her words, but what I was to her.
Human wisdom, however, we can take or leave. Even the wise things Jesus told us we have ignored and not found ourselves in grave danger (or so we think). But Jesus, if He is to be believed, is not just a wise person, and not just a person who loves us even more than our grandmothers did.
Jesus requires action. No, He demands it. And that action is to know when other "realities" hit us that He is the Bread of Life. That He is the sustenance we need for eternal life. And not just life in some shiny gold Heaven, but LIFE instead of the death of separation from God.
See friends, our attention, like our faces, can be turned in many directions, to many different seeming realities. The runner believes that despite the pounding of his feet and knees on the earth, despite the more pleasurable activities of sitting in front of a ball game with a lap full of chips, despite the insistence of others that fitness can be accomplished many other ways, that the hard miles put in today will not only pay off tomorrow, but make each present moment better.
Faith in Jesus makes no sense to the world. To many (even some in the church), that faith is merely a step from one place to another. From one reality to another, like stepping through a wall to a new world. But faith isn't a step. It is a walk.
Lord Jesus, you offer always to feed us with Yourself. Help us to stay turned to You, and to walk always in Your Love. Amen.