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September 2016 Pittsburgh Lutheran Devotion

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Posted: Thursday, October 6th, 2016 by Pastor Westgate

“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures unto eternal life.” Thus says Jesus to us in St. John 6. We do well to ponder these words a little now as we get ready to celebrate Labor Day. “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures unto eternal life.”

What does this mean? First, it does not mean that we should avoid all work if possible. God told Adam in Genesis 3 that from the sweat of his brow he would eat his bread. The New Testament even says that if someone refuses to work he shouldn’t eat! God provides for us through the work of our hands. He doesn’t just provide out of nowhere, but uses earthly means to provide for us. Work is one of those means. He uses something that was born of sin to care for us. Wondrous mercy indeed!

So why has Jesus told us not to labor for food that perishes? Because He knows that sinful hearts can turn work into an idol! We’re driven to work, harder and harder, driven to work for money, more money, and even more money. We’re even driven to work in order to avoid the problems of life. Work begins to take over. It begins to feel more important than our worship life and devotion life. Finally it can take over. That’s when you labor for food that perishes. It’s not just that the food will rot, but that you will perish eternally.

So work for the food that endures unto eternal life instead. But we are not saved by what we do. So what does Jesus mean? Elsewhere in John 6 He tells us that the work of God is to believe on Him Whom He sent. God wants you to believe in Jesus. He wants you to confess your sins and be absolved. He wants you to hear His Law and Gospel. He wants you to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood at His Altar. That’s how He forgives your sins. That’s how He gives you eternal life. For He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest.” Be with Jesus, and He will give you eternal rest. Perhaps we could even call it a true and eternal “Labor Day.”

Categories: Pastor Westgate's Sermons

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