Things are tough out here, job and money wise. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s you didn't need much post-high school education--you could get a job in factory that paid well. Our prosperous post-WWII era has passed. Europe and Asia recovered from the war; we're no longer the only economic force in the world. But one thing has not changed--success usually starts from the humble bottom, but many are too prideful to start there.
Today, there is a lot of grumbling. No one seems to be happy. In stores you'll see food-filled shopping baskets pushed by people with some of the unhappiest faces. We eat better than King George III did, but we grumble.
Moses and Aaron heard a lot of grumbling from their fellow Israelites. How soon had they forgotten that God (not Pharaoh) had freed them from slavery! But instead of punishing them for complaining, God sends manna from heaven to feed them. Of course, that wasn't enough. Moses reminded them, "When the LORD gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him--what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the LORD." (Exodus 16:8)
And what are we? Our grumbling is against the Lord, too, despite our daily bread. More is never enough. But only God can fill our hungry hearts. Fulfillment is not found from the self, nor is it found outside the will of God. As St. Augustine wrote, "You have created us for Yourself; our heart knows no rest except that it finds rest in You." ("Confessions", Book 1, Ch. 1)
In the 1990s, many of us baby boomers searched for ways outside of Christ to feel better about ourselves. Many of us had done well financially but were guilt-ridden and got involved in various charities or causes to give ourselves something to point to for proof of our own goodness.
St. Augustine understood the fundamental true meaning of life: we belong to the Creator and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Understanding that reality of life begins at the humblest of starting points: the cross of Christ. To unstiffen our own knees, it is important to remember that we believers are chosen not because we are good (and we're not) but because He is good. Our woes are just daily, like our bread should be, when seen from the prospective of the eternal.
Jesus told some bread-seekers, "Do not labor for food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you...Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:27-35) He frees from slavery to sin, eternal death, and false hopes. Eat well and be filled. Gloria Deo--Glory to God.
Rev. Timothy Matthew
is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran
Church in Kennett.