When Things Are Never Good Enough?

Text: John 6:1-15                                                      

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Things are never good enough for us, are they? We are never satisfied. We get good gifts, and instead of being content, we either want more of the same or something different. And when we don’t get what we want – well… we grumble, and we complain.  

You see, these eyes, stomachs, and hearts are greedy, gluttonous, and full of lust. They are broken; they have a perverted love for many things.  

And so, our eyes, hearts, and stomachs set out to acquire the things we think we need. We get and accumulate many things that will supposedly satisfy us. But here is the catch: once we get many things, we overconsume to the point of being wasteful.  

But it does not stop there; after we have gathered a bunch of stuff and over consumed, we begin the whole cycle over again. And then again and again and again.   

Now, whether it is money, sex, power, food, clothing, toys, or something else, we all act the same way. We all have this intense and strong desire to be satisfied. Deep down, we have an intense longing to be satisfied – to feel secure and calm. And so, we do everything possible in this life to try and obtain this so-called satisfaction.  

In our reading from the Gospel of John, it is quite clear that Jesus satisfied the crowd. In our reading, the people were hungry, and so, Jesus multiplied bread and fish to feed them. He fed them as much as they wanted. They were indeed completely satisfied, with many leftovers. However, right after they were satisfied, it is extremely important to understand that the people decided to come and take Jesus by force. In other words, Jesus gave them good things, but they wanted to make sure that they could keep the good things coming. Technically stated, their satisfaction was quickly chased away by greed and lust.

Two things are going on in our reading from the Gospel of John. The first is that we humans constantly have eyes, stomachs, and hearts that are greedy, gluttonous, and full of lust. Our sinful appetite is never-ending. Always gathering, always consuming, and then wanting more all over again. There is simply no bottom to our sinful appetites. And the same was true for the crowd in our Gospel Reading. 

But there is something else that often goes on with us humans, and that is this: we believe that the Lord is envious. That is to say, it is easy to believe that our Lord likes to withhold good gifts from His creatures. We believe that our Lord has good gifts, but He doesn’t hand them out to us because He wants to make sure that we are always under His thumb. Supposedly, if He withholds some of these gifts, then we will always be in need, and He will be in control of us. If He holds back a little, well, He can keep us under His boot – He can keep us groveling for more.    

This is the reason why the people were about to capture Jesus by force. They saw that Jesus was about to retire, and they perceived Jesus as unambitious and not willing to be the long-expected king that they had hoped for. According to them, Jesus was holding back. And so, they decided to take things into their own control. They wanted to seize Jesus.  

Dear friends, do you see how all of this works? Humanity has this unending desire to acquire, get, and accumulate things to feed our greed, gluttony, and lust. And then, we believe that the Lord has what we need but is somehow withholding it from us. We believe that He is an envious God – a prude or a cheapskate who does not like to give us good things.  

Frankly, this kind of mindset has wreaked havoc on too many people inside the church and outside the church.  

For those inside the church, all you have to do is listen to the late-night television evangelists or those popular religious teachers who appear on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Show. You know, those schemers dressed in fancy suits, spewing forth a bunch of crap in the name of God. If you listen carefully, they appeal to mankind’s greed, gluttony, and lust. They fan it. They stoke the fire. They encourage the old Adam. And then, they treat God like He is an envious God who withholds good gifts. But here is the catch, these religious hustlers – these snakes – they say that they have the solution to get God to release good gifts. Yes, if you listen to these religious hustlers and do what these religious snakes say, they will instruct you on techniques to storm the gates of heaven to get God to release the good for you. And then, once this stingy and envious God releases His good gifts, well… you will then finally have a good life that you have always dreamed of. You will finally be content.  

Dear God almighty! Lord have mercy on us humans. What wretched, filthy, and disgusting theology. May these religious hustlers – these pathetic snakes be driven to repentance a thousand times over. May you and I be given ears to discern the garbage that they are spewing forth. May God great us repentance for the times that we have believed this garbage theology.  

Now, the great tragedy for those outside the church is that they too believe that God is envious – that He has withheld good gifts from them. You see, a good majority of people outside the church have this peculiar but predictable pattern of congratulating themselves for the good things that happen in their lives and then blaming God for the bad things. For them, mankind is generous and giving and good. And God? Well, God is envious, mean, and withholds good gifts. And so, it does not make sense for them to go to church because God doesn’t do anything to satisfy them anyway. Why waste time with an envious God when good things only come from mankind?  

Dear friends, please listen up. Our Lord is not interested and will not satisfy our sinful longings. The reason is, they can never be satisfied. Our greed, gluttony, and lust are unending desires, and there is no bottom to them, and there is no end to them. And so, the only solution for these desires is for them to be crucified – to be put to an end with repentance.  

And so, dear friends, repent not only of your greed, gluttony, and lust but also of believing that these sinful desires can be satisfied in this life. They can’t be. And so, they must be crucified unto Christ.  

Furthermore, let us repent of believing that it is Jesus’ job to satisfy our sinful longings. Our Lord will not give us children snakes to play with. He will not prop up a burning house. He will not uphold the games of the old Adam and the lies of the Devil.  

And so, repent. You and me – repent.  

But do not only repent; hear the goodness of our Lord. Our Lord is a giving God who longs to satisfy you and me with His good gifts. Not the gifts that our sinful nature desires, but the good gifts that we so desperately need.  

For example, are you breathing right now? If so, that air is a gift of God to you.  

Are you clothed today? If so, those clothes are a gift of God to you.  

Is your belly full of food and drink? If so, that food is a gift of God to you.  

Did you sleep in a bed last night in a heat-controlled house or apartment? If so, that house and apartment are a gift of God to you.  

Did you have a job, do you have income, do you have friends, do you have a church home, do you have police that protect you, and do you have teachers that teach you? If so, they are gifts of God to you.  

Your God gives you good gifts. He is not envious or stingy. He provides you with what you need.  

But perhaps the greatest gift that has not been mentioned thus far is that He provides you with Himself. Your Jesus does not give you a version of Himself that you want but gives you Himself as He actually is. In Christ, you receive not the savior you want but the Savior you actually need. He gives you Himself bloodied on the cross and risen from the grave for the forgiveness of all your sins. He gives you His life. And His life truly satisfies.  

Chins up. Listen up!

Your Jesus satisfies the wrath of God.  

Your Jesus satisfies the condemnation and guilt of your sin.  

Your Jesus satisfies your troubled conscience.  

He satisfies the questions of who you are, where you are going, and how you will get there, for He is your way, your truth, and your life. He is the One that truly satisfies. 

He satisfies you, so you shall not want. Even when you go through the valley of death, you shall have no fear, for your trusty Shepherd is with you. 

And, today, He satisfies you through reviving your drooping head. His table is set, and He has gifts for you. His cup brims with blessings- all for you, for He is neither envious nor stingy. Again, your Jesus gives you not what you want but exactly what you need. And that is enough. It is enough.  

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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