“My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work”.
In America, we like our food, and lots of it. Good food ought to be, not only enjoyable, but nourishing and healthy for our bodies. I don’t think Jesus would disagree with that, but it does seem like a strange comment for Him to relate food to doing God’s will. Yet, perhaps it is not so strange after all. Jesus has given us a powerful illustration of the greater reality. While good food is good for the body, to do the Father’s will is good for the soul. To Christ, doing the will of the Father was the best possible ‘soul food’. And remember, for Him, the Father’s will meant walking towards the horrors of the Cross.
German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “A righteous man lives for the next generation.” Bonhoeffer understood that the will of God involved living a righteous life for the sake of another generation, even if it meant standing in opposition to cultural norms. He wrote these words at a time when many of the older generation in his country were living their lives almost entirely for themselves. They were in pursuit of convenience and comfort, not unlike our generation today. They ignored both the plight of millions of Jews who were neighbors and friends, and thousands of their own youth being lured into the Nazi deception.
A Grandparent’s Legacy
As a grandfather, I want desperately to hand down a legacy of truth and grace. I want that legacy shaped by the Gospel my grandchildren will also want to embrace. I want them to know how much they are treasured by the God who made them. I want them to know how that love translated into an indescribable sacrifice to pay a debt they could not pay. This debt payment on their behalf not only offers the promise of eternal life, but a life filled with delight and purpose right now. My prayer is that my life will exalt Christ as a fragrant aroma of blessing to others.
I want the Lord’s passions to also be mine—to feast at the banquet table of God’s will, and to take great delight in that. What could be more nourishing and satisfying food for my soul than sharing and modeling the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation, with my grandchildren and their generation? I want my grandchildren to see my life hidden in Christ. My hope is they will see it spilling out into everything I do. May they see me spend myself doing the will of the Father and living for the next generation. I pray I will give them every reason to want to taste that which gives life and health to the soul. I do not want my life to give them any reason to settle for the junk food of life wasted on worldly, selfish pursuits.
Soul Food Practices
So, what are some examples of the kind of soul food Jesus describes in John 4? How can I feast on that food to impact another generation? Here are a few possibilities we can put into practice:
- Share your story of God’s salvation through faith in your own personal journey.
- Pray regularly for and with your grandchildren.
- Read and study God’s Word daily. If you want to know His good and pleasing will, know His Word.
- Pray daily to know Him, to delight in Him, and to seek HIS will not our own.
- Learn about the world your grandchildren live in (it is very different from the world you grew up in), and engage with them in their world so they know you care about what it good and true.
- Meet regularly with other believers to worship, be exhorted, and to grow in your faith.
- Examine your everyday life and ask the Lord to reveal those areas where what you practice may not match your professed beliefs. Confess those to Him and ask how He would desire for you to magnify Him in those areas.
Soul care requires good soul food. Doing the will of the Father is the best soul food we can get. After all, we cannot give what we do not have.
Are there any other grandparents who want to enjoy some good soul food with me?