Life is short. Life is just vapor, as the book of Ecclesiastes rightly points out. We work hard to receive recognition, achieve our goals, or raise our children, but when we look back, we realize time went faster than we thought, and the work is never completely done. Sometimes, the days are long in parenting and life, but the years are short. As the poignant line in John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy” clearly describes our lives, “life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.”
Life is tough. The COVID-19 global pandemic reminded the whole world that we don’t have control of our lives and circumstances. We lost jobs, relationships, and security in a few months. We must adapt to a new world with constant transformation and futile structures to sustain rapid change. In addition to these external circumstances, many faith leaders have failed unexpectedly. Leaders who were supposed to serve others have abused them. Power, not servanthood, became their motivation. There is an evident lack of genuine and moral leadership worldwide.
Who else should we go to? was the question that Peter asked Jesus when things started to become difficult, and many of Jesus’ followers decided to leave him. This is the same question we all ask when we realize that following Christ requires a more significant sacrifice than expected. We must ask ourselves this question when some of Jesus’ followers depart from him and behave contrary to the master.
Life is short and tough, but Jesus is faithful, and the life he gives is eternal. Regardless of how much we work, there is always something else to do. Regardless of how much we eat, we will be hungry again. There is never enough time, enough security, or enough bread to satisfy our desires completely. However, Jesus is the bread of life and the only genuine reassurance in our lives. With him at the center of our lives, we can labor with an eternal perspective.
The good news of our faith in Jesus is that what he provides us lasts on into eternal life. The circumstances in our lives may change, but Jesus is always faithful, always near, and always with us. As followers of Christ, we are “beggars telling other beggars where we found bread.” But, the real bread, the eternal one.
When we look into our circumstances, we may find despair. But when we look into you, our heavenly Father, we find security and peace. Thank you, Jesus, for the eternal bread of life. May we live for you in the power and sustenance of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Octavio Javier Esqueda
Professor of Christian Higher Education
Director, Ph.D. and Ed.D. Programs in Educational Studies
Talbot School of Theology