I believe this text leaps out to tell us God provides through Jesus not what we want but what we need. We may want to be seen, but we need to know that we are seen. David said in Psalm 139, "O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You discern my thoughts from far away." How is that for being seen? How is that for being known? Who else could handle knowing that much about us and still love us?
There was a young man and his sister, who went to visit their aunt during the summer. They were playing in the back yard under the watchful eyes of his aunt, and he was playing with a slingshot. He shot his aunt’s only duck. The duck died. His sister noticed, but his aunt did not or he thought she did not. In addition, after that, the aunt called them in for lunch, and they ate a nice, healthy lunch that she had fixed; and at the end of lunch, his aunt said to his sister, "Why don't you wash the dishes?" And she said, "Oh, no, my brother will gladly wash the dishes!" And he said, "I didn't say that!" She said, "Don't forget the duck. Don't forget the duck!" Therefore, he went on to wash the dishes. And after washing the dishes, aunt said, "Sadie, why don't you sweep up the kitchen?" And Sadie said, "Oh, I don't want to do that right now. My brother will be glad to do that “He said, "I didn't say I would do that." She said, "Don't forget the duck!" Finally, the young fellow had had enough, and he went to his aunt and said, “I want to confess something. I shot your duck today with my slingshot, and she has been blackmailing me with this 'don't forget the duck.'" She said, "Baby, Baby, I saw it. I was just wondering how long you were going to allow her to make a fool out of you about the duck."
Therefore, it is with some of us. We allow the past and other things to make us forget that God provides through Jesus when we are in need, not what we want but what we need.
Secondly, the text also tells us that God's promise can sustain us through all times. David again comes to tell us in Psalm 34, "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth." The people tell Jesus in verse 31, "Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness as it is written." Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of heaven is that which comes down and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
Looking out at my backyard during the fall, I noticed the leaves falling while the tree branches remained stretching heavenward--not only did they remain that way after the leaves were gone, but when the snows came and the often brutal winds of Pittsburgh seemed to bend them into submission. But in the spring the trees seemed to speak to me saying, "Notice that we kept our branches lifted towards where our help comes from." To me it seemed that they praised God with or without leaves, as if they knew that keeping their branches up was a means of patient waiting faith, and it was in the spring when the buds appeared on their branches that those trees seemed to say to me, "We told you. We told you that our help comes from above."
So not only does this text tell us that God provides through Jesus not what we want but what we need and that God's promise can sustain us through all times, but, finally, the text tells us God's presence through Jesus allows us room to grow in grace.
God greets us each morning with a sunrise greeting and each evening with a sunset closing. Knowing that makes us teachable students aware of an all-knowing God. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
God, we thank You for your amazing, abundant grace that supplies us in times of need. Help us to know that You are always watching and always providing. Let Your word go forth and find fertile souls, listening ears, and hearing hearts. In addition, we will be careful always to praise You. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray with thanksgiving. Amen.