Today’s reading is one simple verse, our shortest of the week. So read it one more time. Did you see it this time? The word never. As our bread of life, Jesus said that we will never go hungry. We will never go thirsty. Do you understand the gravity of what Jesus is saying? Of course, even the newest believer could comprehend that Jesus is referring to spiritual nourishment. Regardless, never is a dramatic concept. What does that mean in the context of our relationships?
Relationships are complex. They ebb and flow through our care, or lack thereof, toward one another. In our brokenness, we sometimes say and do things that cause great damage. We can wound hearts and souls. Likewise, we are sensitive and easily hurt, often retreating and isolating ourselves for self-preservation. The give and take, push and pull of wins and losses in relationships gets exhausting and time-consuming. Does a particular relationship come to mind as you read these words—a relationship that is malnourished, depleted, or starving? Enter Jesus. He is our source of nourishment and strength. As we remain fixed on him, we are promised never to go hungry or be thirsty again. That means that we have the resources to be tenacious as we always hope for the best in relationships, knowing that we are always filled with the spiritual nourishment that comes from Christ. Through him, we have endurance. Sure, we may need to keep healthy boundaries, but we have the spiritual strength to try again and again and again and sometimes even again to care for the distant spouse, the misunderstood in-law, the wayward son, the estranged sibling, the long-lost friend.
Thank you, Jesus, for being our Bread of Life. Nourish us again today so that we have the sustaining power to invest in relationships. Help us never to have malnourished relationships with the people in our lives. Amen.
David’s family was a mess. Among his children there was rape, murder, and a plot to overthrow him by his son Absalom. Violence followed, and Second Samuel tells the story of Absalom’s death. Even though Absalom had betrayed him, David still loved his son with a parent’s never-ending love—the kind of love that God demonstrates perfectly for us, as David celebrates in Psalm 34. The author of Ephesians warns against acting out of anger, wrath, and malice (the very things that tore apart David’s family). We should instead forgive, as God in Christ has forgiven us. In John, Jesus restates that he is the path to God because he teaches God’s truth. Jesus will give his own life, then raise up those who believe in him.
Read 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33. What helps you to “deal gently” with others? What makes it challenging at times?
Read Psalm 34:1-8. When have you been able to “taste and see” God’s goodness?
Read Ephesians 4:25–5:2. How do your words and actions reflect what you profess to believe about Christ?
Read John 6:35, 41-51. God comes to us in unexpected ways. Is there someone you have overlooked or dismissed as a servant of God? How can you work to see people as God sees them?
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