John 6:27-29 (NLT)
“But you shouldn’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Son of Man, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for that very purpose.” 28 They replied, “What does God want us to do?” 29 Jesus told them, “This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the one he has sent.”
What does God want us to do? The NIV and KJV use the word “work.” What must we do to do the works God requires? “Believe in Me!” Jesus answers. That doesn’t sound like “work.” Really, believing in Jesus is the work God requires.
Work has a list of things to accomplish. Work has a starting time and a stopping time. Work, once completed, has something tangible to show people, like yard WORK: “Look at the hedge I just trimmed. Nice and even, don’t you think?”
Believe in Me. How is that work? What does that look like when I’m through?
Work leaves me feeling like physically and/or mentally spent, like writing a report for my boss. It’s tangible. It’s printed. It’s on the boss’ desk. I’m done. I can walk away feeling smug and satisfied.
Believe in Me. On whose desk do I put that?
Work, in this scriptural context, refers to an actual effort. It comes from a Greek word meaning “to trade up or barter to gain.” The work of believing in Jesus:
So what must I trade? What do I have to barter? At least two things are available for trade: “Come” and “believe.”
The first is easy to identify. We trade time. Show up in His presence. Stop working at your work and trade that time to be with Him. Trade UP. This won’t be easy. It must be a trade: You give up what you need to be doing and receive His presence in return. You trade UP.
The second is even more difficult. We trade doubt. Does He really care about my situation? Trade that “doubt” for belief in Him. “I believe He does care.” Trade UP.
This may not seem like work. Try it. It is definitely easier to trim the hedge, but it is the work that God requires.
Lord, help me barter my time and my doubts. Today I will work at sitting at your feet and giving up my doubts. Today, I will trade UP.
Dialog discuss: Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to. J. R. R. Tolkien, Letter to Michael Tolkien, March 1941