The Gift That Satisfies

We have an unfortunate tendency of focusing on gaining satisfaction, especially during the Christmas season. From gift-giving to maintaining traditions “just so,” we seem to think we’ll feel full if we treat ourselves to “enough.”

Yet the gifts Jesus gives focus on our fulfillment or completion in Him, not on a temporal feeling or fleeting experience.

In John 6:26, Jesus called some folks out on seeking the wrong sort of fulfillment. He has just preached to and fed five thousand people. Soon after, on the other side of a lake, throngs of people were seeking Him out. They were there to gain satisfaction in their circumstances and to have their desires indulged.

Jesus, knowing their hearts, said:

“Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”

The crowds had crossed the water and searched the land to find this extraordinary Jesus –but they were looking for a lesser sort of satisfaction- one that’s self-focused and temporary. The people weren’t looking to Christ for true fulfillment. They were looking to have their fill and feel satisfied.

Jesus went on, saying:

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

It isn’t wrong to give gifts that spoil –Jesus did after all feed normal food to all those people who were then hoping for more to fill them up. But Christ emphasizes the eternal. He gives enduring gifts that nourish for eternity. Gifts that glorify God. Gifts that satisfy completely.

All gifts from God are good gifts. Jesus is the perfect gift, and He satisfies forever.

What He warned against was us getting distracted by a misplaced focus on temporary feelings and desires.

The sort of distraction we tend to be easily mesmerized by at Christmas can trap us into feeling that the eternal gifts He gives are not enough to satisfy us today.

When Christ made it clear that meeting temporary desires with gifts that spoil wasn’t what He came to do, people left.

When He offered no gift that felt full, that came immediately, or that met the expectations of the crowds, they left. Jesus said:

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63).

He lost disciples that day.

For those folks, life through Christ wasn’t enough to celebrate or satisfy. His life and Spirit weren’t enough, in their opinion, to fill their hearts or desires. The gifts He gave didn’t seem sufficient alone to fill up what is lacking and give lasting fulfillment and satisfaction.

In this season of celebrating God’s greatest gift to us, it is easy for our receiving hearts to scoff and demand more. We prioritize getting and giving what we want, how we want it.

It’s easy for our flesh to win out. The things of our flesh can give temporary meaning, fulfillment, and joy to our holiday spirits. But they aren’t enough –His gifts alone give complete satisfaction.

How does your giving and receiving reflect the sufficiency and satisfaction of Christ, and the joy of eternity?

{Post was originally published on My Faith Radio}

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