Ascension Lutheran Church

Calgary, AB


John 6:25-35

[25] When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” [26] Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. [27] Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” [28] Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” [29] Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” [30] So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? [31] Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” [32] Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. [33] For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” [34] They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
[35] 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.”

Thanksgiving is that annual holiday where we are encouraged to stop and take time to express our gratitude for the various blessings we’ve been given. An important part of this is to recognize that it isn’t so much about the “stuff”. Not that “stuff” is necessarily bad, after all God created everything in heaven and earth and as the creation account in Genesis 1 notes He called it all “good”. Rather the gratitude is to the One who gave us all we have.

Even if we are especially mindful of directing our gratitude to God for all we’ve been given we can see from the Gospel that as good as “stuff” may be, he desires to give us more—he wants to give us himself.

Like the crowds in the lesson, we too can get so caught up with what we have been given, asking God for more of the same, we lose sight of the fact that Jesus is offering us more than “stuff”, he is offering himself.

This isn’t meant to diminish the blessings we have, but rather to keep it all in perspective. While our “stuff” is good, and thanks are due to God for all we’ve been given, let’s not lose sight of the gift of Christ Jesus, who came for us and our salvation. Who gives us his body and blood in the bread and wine of holy communion, for the forgiveness of our sins and strengthening of our faith. It’s when we recognize and receive Jesus gift of himself that we are best able to appreciate the other blessings granted to us by God.