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Wanting What We Need

Wanting What We Need John 4:7-15 John 6:44-51

Most of the time there’s a pretty big difference between what we want and what we need. I know that, and you know that. We also know, that, sometimes, what we need is actually what we want... and what we want is actually what we need. But not always... and, maybe, not most of the time. I may want a two-door, candy-apple red, convertible Corvette... but I may need a mini-van. Or, I may think I need a “ride”, when all I really need to do... is walk. I may want a porterhouse steak... but I need a salad. Or... I may need a word of correction, when all I want is to be left alone. It works both ways, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s been said that there’s a “God-shaped hole” - or void - deep within all of us, that can only be filled by an ongoing, nurturing relationship with God in Christ. In other words... what we actually need is Christ. You and I find satisfaction... and peace... when we want Christ as much as we need him. This is certainly eluded to in Matthew 6:33, where Jesus said, when we’re concerned about what we’ll eat, or drink, or wear (in other words, when we’re worried about material things of this life, our wants and needs) that we should “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things (the things we want & need) will be added unto you.” Of course, the truth, and the problem... is... we usually do just the opposite! We tend to try, and try, to fill our lives... to fill that God shaped void... with other things! Things that can’t ultimately satisfy our deepest longings and desires. And then we seek God’s righteousness... and we stay frustrated that we never feel blessed. Of course, the “lesser things” of this world can never make us permanently happy... they can’t satisfy our true need... these lesser things become our addictions... and we seek more and more and more of them in an increasingly desperate attempt to find satisfaction. Money, clothing, food, sex, power, fame, thrill-seeking, alcohol and drugs - all call for more and more, as they gradually give back less and less for the amount consumed. And we’re left still feeling empty. Jesus knew this fact about life. So when he encountered the woman at the well... he told her clearly... that the water she drew from that well, Jacob’s Well, would leave her thirsty again, BUT that the water that he offers, would continually “well-up” and flow into eternal life. Of course, the point is that there’s a thirst, a hunger, that cannot be satisfied except by a relationship with God in Christ. Again: you and I find satisfaction... and peace... when we want Christ as much as we need him. We so often use the word “bread” metaphorically for “food” or “sustenance” - and Jesus was no different. He even taught us to pray for our daily bread - or our daily needs - in what we call the Lord’s Prayer... which we just prayed together a few moments ago! But we need more than daily food to find any lasting satisfaction and to live full and abundant lives. Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). And as followers of Christ, we find our sustenance, our life, our hope, in the “Word made flesh” - in Christ, and in Christ alone. Jesus is the “living water” - Jesus is the “living bread.” Well, all of that raises the question: What, specifically, is this “living water” or this “living bread” that Jesus offers us? It’s himself! The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He send Jesus as the ultimate expression of that love. Jesus is the personification of God’s love. Jesus is the “bread” or sustenance of life, because through Him (thru Christ), the love of the invisible God is made visible and accessible to you and me. And the love of God, in Christ, satisfies our true need. Christ offers us an opportunity to take what is real, and what is needed, for a lasting, growing, fulfilling relationship with God... through him. Because when we take possession of that love in our lives - and the spirit of Christ fills our deepest hunger and thirst (the God-shaped hole), that love begins to overflow to others. And we’ve all experienced the fullness of the overflow of God’s love! If you’ve ever been loved by someone, if they loved you more than they loved themselves... you’ve experienced the overflow. If you’ve every loved someone more than you love yourself, then you’ve experienced the overflow. Mother Teresa, dedicated her life to working among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. And as she tended to their needs, often caring for those left to die on the streets of the city... she once said, “Every person at least one time before they die needs to know that he or she is loved.”

Of course, you and I don't have to be Mother Teresa to love... Jesus is the “Living water” that quenches our deepest thirst - Jesus is the “living bread” that satisfies our greatest hunger - and we know that! We’ve experienced the blessings of Christ... because we know Christ... and we love Christ... We know Jesus came to show every single person, that they are loved. So what are we to do in response to our knowledge? Share. It’s that simple. It’s been said that “Evangelism is one hungry person telling another hungry person where to find bread” (D. T. Niles). Of course, that’s the mission of the church, isn’t it? Our calling is to tell the world where love is to be found: because we’ve found it! And we know that the love of God in Christ always “wells-up” into a stream... overflowing with peace, joy, hope, and all of the fruits of the Spirit. The bread and water that our Lord offers to the world... is nothing less, than Himself. We gather in this place, opening our hands, and our hearts, longing to be so filled with Christ... as his goodness and grace fills us to the point of overflow... forever ending our restless... forever satisfying our souls... and enabling us to share what we’ve received. You and I find satisfaction... and peace... when we want Christ as much as we need him. For in that moment, Christ becomes for us the “living water” - the “living bread” that comes down from heaven... and satisfies our souls. Amen. Sent from my iPad Gerald W. (Jerry) Ledbetter, Pastor West Point Presbyterian Church 1002 5th Avenue West Point, GA 31833 706.443.2260

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