“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you…I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
-John 6:27, 35
Walking along the river today, I was overcome by the way the clouds painted the gaps between the lily pads, as the geese passed by. Crouching to capture the moment, the lead goose, likely misreading my extended camera as an arm beckoning with bread, turned the tribe towards me.
As you can see above, Lead Goose ruined my perfect photo, just as I ruined the tribe’s perfect meal, BUT, in exchange, these geese did leave me with some lessons to share.
I thought about the way these geese responded to me taking the position of a person they were accustomed to receiving sustenance from: a slight postural change inspired an instantaneous response! Before long, I was surrounded!
The geese hurried toward me when they thought I was their food source, though I had nothing to offer. In the same way, we hurry towards many things in life that promise pleasure or sustenance, but will never really satisfy.
Pastor Curtis Cook spoke on the invitations of Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly from Proverbs 9 this past Sunday. You can here the sermon here. Both Wisdom and Folly issue an invitation to come and eat their food. Of Wisdom’s invitation, verse 11 says, “through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” Of Folly’s, however, verse 18 says, “But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.”
Sometimes, I get tired of waiting for the provision that comes from God, because, well, I have to wait for it, and I don’t like waiting. Someone comes along and claims to offer the thing I want sooner, and I’m tempted to chase it. But I’ve come to learn, from the Bible AND from experience that:
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.”
I do not want to run after “sustenance” that “spoils,” and I certainly don’t want to be the one who leads others in such a “wild goose chase” (yeah, pun totally intended :-P). Thankfully, if I keep my ears tuned to the voice of the Word and Spirit of God, I won’t have to worry about that (Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 30:21, etc.).
I thought I’d close with a quote from C.S. Lewis’ conversational narrative between Senior Tempter “Screwtape” and his nephew and tempter-in-training “Wormwood,” that Pastor Curtis Cook cited in his sermon as well:
“You are much more likely to make your man a sound drunkard by pressing drink on him as an anodyne when he is dull and weary than by encouraging him to use it as a means of merriment among his friends when he is happy and expansive. Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable” (44, Screwtape Letters)