Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life. (John 6:27)

Brooklyn Cupcake received so many calls they could barely keep up. Feel free to call them for a dozen strawberry cupcakes, but the state government website had accidentally listed the bakery’s number as the health insurance assistance hotline. Owner Carmen Rodriguez was overwhelmed: “I don’t want to be listed . . . they are calling my telephone off the hook.” It was unclear whether you could get health insurance with sprinkles on top.

Jesus was overwhelmed with demands on every side in John 6. He had already fed thousands of people with the miracle of the loaves and fishes, but the crowd was relentless. He and the disciples escaped to the other side of the lake. (I’m sure the disciples offered Jesus a ride in their boat, but He walked on water instead.)

The crowd followed them around the lake, however. Jesus saw through their intentions, saying they weren’t looking for Him for spiritual reasons, but “because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” They were looking for another free lunch, not the spiritual truth He was freely offering. This must have felt overwhelming—to serve and help people so willingly, but finding that even His miraculous efforts didn’t satisfy them.

Jesus confronted them, saying, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life” (v. 27).

Whether you are unsatisfied or overwhelmed, work for food that endures.

David Drury is the author of Being Dad and coauthor of SoulShift and Ageless Faith (all Wesleyan Publishing House). He is also the chief of staff of The Wesleyan Church.