Loaves and glasses

An old friend from college recently posted something on Facebook that held within it much more than first meets the eye: “People who wonder if the glass is half-empty or half-full miss the point. The glass is refillable.” This post was alcohol-themed, but I replied to my friend that it would make a great sermon (that has nothing to do with the consumption of alcohol).

People are often put into one of two categories: “glass half-empty” (pessimists) or “glass half-full” (optimists). The Facebook meme mentioned above is spot-on when applied to a life lived by faith in God: you don’t have to be satisfied with a “half-full” or fret “half-empty.” With Christ, the glass is always full!

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:32-36 (NIV)

So, what does this have to do with a glass? Everything. Earlier in chapter 6, John reports Jesus feeding more than 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish. This attracted people to Jesus, for the wrong reason. They were fed and satisfied but would need more food soon. The glass is half-full if you believe Jesus will create more food out of nearly nothing. It appears that’s what many were thinking when they followed him after the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus tries to explain to them that He is the glass that never needs refilling. I love the way Levi Lusko explains this:

“Now, of course, it’s interesting that this takes place in connection to Him feeding the 5,000, the largest in scale or scope of Jesus’ miracles up to this point and the only of the miracles included in all four of the gospel accounts except, of course, the resurrection…so He was saying I am that which can keep life going. Without eating you die. Without Jesus, he’s saying, without me, you perish, I’m the difference between life and death. And I love that Jesus’ bread is still good tomorrow. When Moses used to bring manna to the people, the next day, if you try to eat it, it was wormy. But Jesus, after the miracle of the 5,000, said to gather up the fragments so that nothing is lost. He’s saying, ‘I’m better than Moses.’”

We have a fresh batch of Jesus’ bread available to us each morning: His grace. It never runs out; it never gets wormy. Excuse me for mixing metaphors, but what Jesus is saying is our glass is always full. We just must take it. Or, if you prefer, there is never half a loaf. I have a memory verse that I say often, but not often enough. It’s one that all believers should say every day:

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8 (NIV).

The glass is half-full/half-empty, or the loaf is half-remaining, or half-gone, only when we look at them horizontally and not vertically. Trust in Jesus each morning, whatever your circumstances and you will always see a full glass and a full breadbox. Unlike the Facebook meme, we don’t have to refill the glass. Jesus does. And give thanks each morning for what an amazing blessing that is!

— Pastor Jerry Bader

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