Dear John

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Chronicles 7-9; John 6:22-44

26 Jesus replied, “I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted.27 Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life.”

28 They asked, “What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?”

29 Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”

30 They asked, “What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do?” (John 6:26:30, Common English Bible)

Dear John,

When I read the passage above a few minutes ago, the first thing I thought of was how patient and understanding Jesus was, well, I guess he still is. When you penned your story of his life, I am sure you had plenty to say. But, I for one, am glad you left some of these stories in to show us that patience and understanding. At least to me, it shows there is still hope for some of us, like me, who really need it.

When I started reading today’s lesson John, I thought, “Wasn’t it just yesterday that I read your account of how Jesus fed 5000 men plus women and children from one little boy’s lunch?” And now, those same people who got to participate in such a great miracle, turn around and say to Jesus, “What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do?”

Really? Could they have a better sign than the way that empty place around their middle got filled? If I remember right, after reading Matthew’s, Mark’s, and Luke’s accounting of the same story, some of you guys wanted to send them home so they could get something to eat. Instead, Jesus decided to feed them in what may have been the biggest free meal in history. John, did somebody call the folks at Guinness to get the world record documented? I’m just kidding John. First, Guinness wasn’t around yet. But, more importantly, Jesus didn’t get into all that stuff.

John, what all this really makes me think about is, how often do I fail to recognize what Jesus does for me and then, in essence, say, “Jesus, what have you done for me lately?” I feel pretty certain those who gathered around Jesus that day wanting to know what great sign he might do so they could believe, wouldn’t have acknowledged they were asking what have you done for me lately, but they were.

I also feel pretty sure Jesus gets tired of hearing me say things that demonstrate way too much of the time, I lack faith in what I just saw a day or two or even a minute or two before.

I did notice, even if those in the crowd didn’t, that Jesus actually knew what was on their mind, more free food. It is a little like when Jesus was telling the woman at the well he could give her living water and she would never thirst. She didn’t get the idea that living water would keep her from spiritual thirst. She wanted to avoid that trip the well.

I did think about Jesus wasting his breath because what he said flew right over the heads of those around him that day. But, it wasn’t a waste of breath, was it John? No, it wasn’t a waste of breath because you preserved those words for all of history. You made sure we all knew what Jesus spent three years teaching you and the others. God is always at work. We can see the evidence if only we will look and pay attention. Thanks for that reminder, John.

Well, John, it is time for me to go out and do some other things. You know, places to go, things to do, and people to see. Maybe, as I go through my day today, I will have the opportunity to remember what Jesus has done for me instead of asking, what have you done for me lately.

I will try to write again soon John.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

And all of you out there, have a blessed day in the Lord.

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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