St. Paul Lutheran Church – Sunday Service
Message: Tired of Taking
8th Sunday After Pentecost
August 3, 2003
As visitors & tourists walk through the different exhibits at Pioneer
Village, one of the exhibits that I think is pretty well put together is the
exhibit that shows the changes in kitchens over the years from one generation to
the next. Several times, I’ve
walked that long isle past all those different kitchens, about 8 or 9 old
American kitchens, each a little bit better than the one before it.
And while it hasn’t ever really made me hungry to slowly walk by &
gaze at how those kitchens are put together, it has made me stop & think
about kitchens being one of the warmest, most familiar, most interesting, most
fascinating rooms in a house. Not
just a room for food to be stored & cooked & meals prepared; not just a
room where breads & cookies
& cakes & pies were taken fresh from the oven, but the kitchens of years
gone buy were also rooms where families used to meet and sit together and visit
and enjoy one another’s company and soak up a certain amount of oneness &
togetherness, sharing the ups & downs of life with one another.
In this day & age of fast foods, micro-waves, instant this & instant that, left-over pizza & Oreo
cookies, how things have changed, haven’t they? Whether for better or for worse, who can say?
I know I’ve listened to widows & widowers tell me that food they
prepare for themselves & sit alone to eat in their own kitchens just isn’t
the same where there used to be a spouse or others to share it with.
How things have change, don’t they.
Having raised three daughters in our home, watching them grow up years
ago sitting around our dining room table & then hurriedly start passing
through the kitchen like it was some kind of snack shop, I’m not necessarily
an advocate for re-turning to the good old days.
But I am most certainly an advocate for those meals & those moments
together which remind us & strengthen us for more than just having fun, or
getting what we can get out of life, or having all this stuff that we wind up
And that I think, is what Jesus, wanted to tell that large crowd of
people who came looking for Him in Capernaum – not because they wanted more of
who He was and what his life was all about – but because they just wanted more
bread, more free meals, more stuff to keep them going
Jesus said to the crowd who had witness & participated in his
miracle of feeding the five thousand, “I tell you for certain that you are not
looking for me because you saw God in my actions, my sharing,
because you ate all the food you wanted. Don’t
work for food that spoils. Work for
food that gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food because God
the Father ha given him the right to do so.”
“What exactly does God want us to do?” the people asked.
Jesus answered, “God wants you to have faith in the one He sent.
it is the crowd that followed Jesus to Capernaum, or whether it is the crowd
that attempts to follow Jesus in the 21st century, the issue is the
We endlessly chase after stuff or things that have do not have ultimate
or final significance in our lives. And the pursuit of so much stuff, believe it
or not, does not lead to fuller but emptier, shallower, lesser lives.
Or as the great American author & novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald has
one of his self-indulging characters say, “We took what we wanted until
we no longer wanted what we took.”
The Good News for the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John is
that the only way to have guaranteed satisfaction in one’s life is to seek
that which provides the ultimate satisfaction in this life & the life to
come: and that is knowing & trusting & abiding in Jesus Christ.
Instant gratification and the attractiveness of so much stuff in this
life along with the ever changing designs of kitchens may be telltale signs of
the times in which we live, but they do not have to be and should not be
telltale signs of the live of those who follow Jesus Christ.
A worthy life to live is one that for better or worse, in sickness &
in health, recognizes & relies boldly & confidently upon God to provide
all that is needed through all the means that God makes available; and that
includes good food, good friends, and good fellow-ship & support from fellow
believers in Christ when you need it.
This is the kind of life Christians are called to live; not flashy
but faithful to God; not full of
taking & taking, but full of trusting & trusting.
I can barely remember the three or four different kitchens in the houses
I grew up in - out in the western suburbs of Chicago back in the late 40’s,
50’s, and early 60’s, but I can remember growing up on & learning to say
& still believing more & more the word’s of Martin Luther’s
explanation of the second article of the apostle’s Creed which goes like this.
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God begotten of the Father before
eternity and also true man born of the virgin Mary has redeemed me a lost and
condemned creature. He has
purchased and won me from sin, death, and the power of the devil; not with gold
or silver but with his holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death;
that I may be His own & live under Him in His Kingdom, and serve Him in
ever-lasting righteousness, innocence, & blessedness.
Even as he is risen from the dead, lives & reigns to all eternity,
this is more certainly true.
I might add, a life lived that way; a life of working & relaxing &
vacationing & raising children; a life of cooking & baking & helping
others & heading for retirement lived on the basis of such a confession of
Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord can & does produce 100 percent guaranteed
When a Christian sings, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord
to thee; take my moments & my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise,”
that is a taking, a taking, a taking one does not get tired of.
I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have
plenty, writes the apostle Paul. In
any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of
going hungry. I can do all things
through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.
May we all continually learn to live that way . . .