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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

You in his "circle of friends"?

If you have ever been accused of being a "looky loo" then you know what this term means.  In essence, a "looky loo" is one who is hanging around just because of the curiosity a particular event or happening sparks.  They are casual "browsers" in stores, and those who strain to gawk at the accident on the freeway.  I think there might even be a type of looky loo in Christian circles, as well!  Like those who come to church for the excitement of the moment, but who have very little to do with Jesus any other day of the week. In essence, their curiosity drives them, but their curiosity doesn't commit them!  This is the case one day when a huge crowd had gathered to hear Jesus speak - listening late into the day to his teachings.  At the dinner hour, there is but a meager helping of bread and fish to feed the vast crowd and no monies to buy more.  Here we find the miracle of the loaves and fishes - enough to feed the crowds from the meager offering of a young boy's few loaves and fishes.  Enough to provide left-overs for any sojourners who may happen by later that night.  Not many in the crowd were "committed" to Jesus as the Son of God, but they sure liked what he preached, wondered at his miraculous signs, and yearned to be part of the happening crowd.  In other words, there were a whole lot of looky loos in the crowd!

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.  (John 6:35-38 MSG)

How do we know there were those just there for the "show" or out of curiosity? Our answer is found in their "paparazzi like" actions.  Jesus senses their "curious interest" in his actions, but knows they are not really connecting his actions with the work of the heavenly Father on their behalf.  Their belief is that he is just another prophet - one they might want to raise up to the level of their next king!  To make matters worse, Jesus knows their "good intentions", but he also knows they aren't seeing the "picture" of who and what Jesus is in totality.  He needs them to make that connection, just like he needs for us to make that connection for ourselves.

The crowds compare his actions to those of Moses - bread from heaven in the form of manna was the "norm" where Moses was involved.  So this action on Jesus' part to feed the physical hunger of the crowds draws them to the conclusion that Jesus can call upon heaven and see these same magnitude of miracles performed in their midst.  They want more of what he can "do" - not him, per se.  This fact became very apparent when they answered him:  “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. He knows this and he needs to connect-the-dots for these looky loos.  In fact, he points out they seek food for their bellies - perishable food - but they need the food which will last for all time - he is the "Bread of Life".

"Just a hint" - isn't this something we find ourselves asking Jesus for more times than we'd probably like to publicly admit?  We want more to "go on" before we take the plunge!  We will eventually commit (at least that is what we tell ourselves) - but could we just have a little more of a hint of what you are doing, Jesus, so we can wrap our heads and hearts around it?  This shouldn't be news to any of us - we all probably act as looky loos once in a while - especially spiritually.  We want "in on the action", but we have to figure out if it is "worth it" before we jump in with both feet.  Someone can tell me something is a good investment, but until I see $100 actually become $1,000 I probably won't put my money there!

We constantly "see Jesus in action" in our lives, but we don't connect his action with whatever it takes to convince us to commit to him - we want just a little more of the "action" in order to "be sure" we can count on him to be consistent, to always be there, to follow-through, to be all he promises to be. Look at what the looky loo is really doing - they are looking upon, but not really taking it in.  These people in the crowd took in the bread and fish, but these weren't what would make they whole and never searching for fulfillment again - only Jesus could fill them to that degree.  Here's what we need to see in this entire account - Jesus is after our heart, not our curiosity.

He uses our curiosity to draw us near, but he doesn't intend for us to continue to stick with him just out of curiosity - he wants to make this heart connection which will anchor us securely to him and all he envisions for our lives.  This is what the crowds missed - they were "close by" but they weren't in his "circle of friends".  I don't know about you, but the "circle of friends" Jesus has sure outshines mine!  I know I want to be in that "circle" and the only way "in" is through him!  Look at what he says to the curious:  I don't discount your curiosity, but I long for your commitment.  It is that desire which I will embrace and once I embrace you, I never let you out of my circle!

Now, that should excite us!  When we come to the place of not just being spiritual "paparazzi" - curiosity seekers, thrill seekers - we will be in the place of true blessing.  Just sayin!