The Youth’s Instructor


November 4, 1897

The Bread of Life

Part 1.


“Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” YI November 4, 1897, par. 1

We have here the promise of the richest gift which heaven, in all its fulness, can bestow upon fallen man. The Lord Jesus, who made man, knew his recurring wants,—that he must eat and drink to sustain life,—but he also knew the value of eternal life. In the miracle he had just performed, he had revealed his power to provide for man's physical necessities, even by methods outside of the ordinary course of nature. YI November 4, 1897, par. 2

Jesus had gone with his disciples apart into a desert place. But “a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.” Jesus saw the people seeking him and listening to his words. “And he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.” YI November 4, 1897, par. 3

So intent were the people in listening to the words of the Great Teacher, that they forgot their physical needs. By and by the day began to wear away. “Then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.” But Jesus saw the needs of the people. There were men and women who were faint and hungry, and mothers with babes in their arms and children clinging to their skirts. Nothing escaped the eye of the compassionate Saviour. He would not send them away fasting, but commanded, “Give ye them to eat.” And at his word that great multitude—“five thousand men, besides women and children”—were fed from “five barley loaves, and two small fishes.” YI November 4, 1897, par. 4

But the Lord did not wish the people to follow him for worldly gain. It was his work, not to foster, but to correct, the prevailing evil of intense devotion to earthly things to the neglect of the heavenly. “Labor not,” he said, “for the meat which perisheth.” They were not to devote all their God-given powers to securing the things of the world, which pass away with the using. Attention must also be given to that which “endureth unto everlasting life.” “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” What can compensate a man for the loss of eternal life in the kingdom of God? YI November 4, 1897, par. 5

Jesus opened before the people the necessity of knowing what is truth. He called their attention to the Scriptures. He carried their minds to the world beyond, to the very threshold of heaven, flushed with the living glories of infinity. He taught them that, in view of the solemn realities of the eternal world, the claims of God should engage their most earnest attention; but this would not incapacitate them for any essential duty. Jesus knew the real value of all that concerned the well-being of men in the varied interests of this life; but he saw the things of time become all-engrossing, while those of eternity were neglected. He set them before his hearers in their relative importance, assigning each its appropriate place. YI November 4, 1897, par. 6

God is continually at work to elevate the character, and to stamp it with his own moral image. Our hands and minds must often be employed about the things of this life; for our faculties are given us for use; but our connection with God may be maintained. God, the living God, and Jesus Christ rejoice with singing over the souls that are molded and fashioned after the divine image; and heavenly angels look with admiration upon the work of uplifting fallen humanity. In his work for us, God calls upon us to co-operate with him by placing ourselves in the channel of light, that we may be renewed by the mighty working of his power. Life is a sacred trust committed to us, and it must be weeded of all worldliness, that by our words and actions we may give evidence that God is working in us, to refine and elevate. YI November 4, 1897, par. 7

The enemy of God works also to keep under his own control the minds and wills of those whom Christ has purchased. He does not desire that man shall be uplifted, that his mind shall be taken from the things of this earth; and as an angel of light, he works to lead men in his own way. He knows that if the heart is engrossed with earthly things, if the time is taken up in laboring for the things that perish, the work of the Holy Spirit will not be discerned. He strives to magnify earthly cares and duties till they take the place of the things of God. YI November 4, 1897, par. 8

If the human agent allows himself to be ruled by this power, he will also carry on a warfare against good. His worst passions will be stirred in rebellion against heavenly things. His mind will be so filled with the things that perish that Christ will find no room for entrance. God will be dethroned from his heart, which is given to the service of another power. The capabilities which God designed to be used in his service will be enslaved in chains of sin. YI November 4, 1897, par. 9

Mrs. E. G. White