Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
In last week’s article I mentioned different cultures having their main staple food as that which left them feeling physically fed.
On our recent trip to Tanzania, we found that to be something called ugali. For other parts of the world, it is rice or noodles.
When I was growing up on a farm, it was potatoes. For Jesus and the people around him, it was bread. People in these various cultures will say that they do not feel “full” or satisfied unless they eat that particular food.
When we are physically hungry, we have learned that reaching for an apple or banana is the more nutritional choice than a bag of potato chips and a soft drink. The deliciousness of a salty snack and sugary drink is soon replaced by a feeling of not being satisfied, and a short time later, we are still hungry.
We know the apple or banana will be more nutritious and in the end more satisfying; but still, we sometimes reach for the chips and soda.
Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” He is saying that in order to feel spiritually satisfied, we need to have a relationship with him.
As Christians, I think we know this. What we have learned, however, is that in our desire to grow closer to Jesus and be connected to Jesus, we sometimes let things get in the way of that. We will reach for something that cannot truly satisfy.
We know what we need, but things get in the way, or other things fill up the space, and before we know it, there is no room left for Jesus.
All too often, we fill our lives with “busyness,” and we are driven to accomplish, to complete, to conquer an endless list of tasks that we have made for ourselves.
People are busy. They tell me they are busy, and I tell others that I stay busy.
In each case, it is often said with pride. We are proud of how busy we are.
The question that I find myself asking is, “With what are we busy?”
Taking a wild guess, I doubt that most of this “busyness” is connected to Jesus.
Reflecting on our recent mission trip to Tanzania, we left much of this “busyness” behind. We had the wonderful opportunity to completely “unplug” from lots of technology. Most of the cell phones had no service. We did not have television, social media or telephone calls.
At least once a day and once a night, for an unforeseeable period of time, we did not have electricity; it went out at irregular intervals.
It was an opportunity to not be consumed with myself and my agendas. We all think we are busy with important business that is often all about ourselves. As you can imagine what that statement just revealed, it is all about “us” and more specifically, all about “me.”
Again, there is not room left for Jesus.
With just that little experience of “unplugging” from technology for a week, we found ourselves “slowing down,” not getting anxious, or restless; we had opportunity to just breathe, to look around, to listen.
I found it to be a wonderful and welcomed spiritual experience. It was an opportunity to be able to appreciate the people I was with, to appreciate my surroundings and to appreciate the little things in life.
In a way, this all made room for Jesus.
It made room for others, to be able to hear stories, to make connections and to build relationships. Again, it made room for Jesus and a sense of being closely connected to Jesus.
I am trying to learn from this experience as I continue to “unplug” from technology for a period of time each day.
It is a welcomed breath of fresh air; well actually, it is more like feasting on the bread of life – and I highly recommend it.
Rev. June M. Fryman is Chairperson of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association and Pastor of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wilmington.