April 17, 2016 • Life for Leaders
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.”
In yesterday’s post I highlighted how Jesus surprised his hearers by saying, “I am the bread.” The Jews of his day were looking for a Messiah who could bring manna like Moses. Jesus did offer literal bread from a supernatural source when he multiplied the loaves and fish. But what he offered most of all was himself. He was the manna from heaven. He was the bread.
Jesus is not only “the bread” but also and specifically the “the bread of life.” Pastor Tim Keller observes that there are two Greek words for life: bios (biological life) and zoe (quality of life). Think of zoe as a life full of meaning, exhilaration, and joy. Even though actual bread is linked to bios (physical life), Jesus links bread to zoe (quality of life) when he says that he is the “bread of life.” Zoe is the kind of life that makes life worth living. When Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” he is offering not merely eternal existence but eternal zoe — a radical and ultimate life. Jesus says do not labor for food that only has bios, but for food that has zoe.
At the church I lead in downtown Los Angeles, we have started an urban farm project that uses 90% less water and land by growing vertically and aeroponically — using Tower Gardens that recycle nutrient-rich water directly to the roots of vegetables. Our goal is, in part, to create bios by eradicating food deserts in our city and providing fresh pesticide-free vegetables and fruits. Yet, we also want to create zoe: good work for low-income individuals who lack employment opportunities because of their checkered past.
The hands in the photo belong to our first program participant, Paul Cornejo. He lives and works at the Union Rescue Mission in L.A.’s Skid Row. He is holding an edible flower from a vegetable plant grown with the Tower Garden technology. Previously, Paul spent two decades in prison as a result of his destructive lifestyle. Now clean and sober, he will be learning how to set up these vertical farms on rooftops, restaurant patios, and even inside buildings. Paul wants to pass on the zoe that Jesus has given him by sharing the gospel in word and deed, while providing good food and sustainable income for himself and others.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What is your zoe? When might you say, “Now that’s living! My life will be good if I get that”? Or, “My life will not be worth living without this one thing”?
Are you engaged in any projects that facilitate both bios and zoe? How about your Christian community? engaging in to facilitate both bios and zoe?
Lord, help me to recognize where I settle for merely surviving instead of thriving. You promise that all who come to you will find a quality of life that makes life worth living. I want to align my life with your agenda. Fill me with your life that I might not hunger or thirst for that which can never satisfy. Help my eyes to see where life is hindered in my community so I can join you in bringing your zoe to the people I encounter. Amen.