A few years back my wife and I rented a condo outside Orlando, Florida so we’d have access to visit lots of family in the area and also to visit Disney World Epcot Center. We’d been to Epcot before but it had been awhile and we so enjoy that park. The condo we rented, at full price may I add, was a timeshare rental…we had rented it from the timeshare owner. We’ve been to timeshare presentations before…have you ever been? It’s gruesome! High pressured, guilt-ridden, shame-producing, just plain horrible with Dickensian salesmen breathing down our necks! They must have read that sales epic, How Not to Take No for an Answer. For me, a root canal was less painful. But they phoned us at our rental condo every day to offer us free tickets to Disney…then worth over $150. And I told them, day by day, that we don’t want a timeshare, we’re not buying, forget it, we know people who have timeshares and love them but not us, doesn’t fit our travel life-style. Just plain forget it. And they didn’t and wouldn’t. They kept phoning relentlessly until finally, beaten down and crushed under the weight of their sales onslaught, we gave in. Or I did, really! But only if we could have the Epcot tickets and use them before we had to face the music, that infernal sales presentation! They agreed and I rushed over to get the tickets where the next day we used them and enjoyed them. Why are free tickets always more fun? Have no idea! Our last day at this condo complex we attended our appointed meeting…a free breakfast was thrown in to butter us up. They pushed, they cajoled, almost screamed at us until finally they gave up…we were not buying just as we had told them from that very first contact with us. As if in desperation, the salesman pointedly looked at us with daggers in his eyes and said, ‘You did it for the tickets, didn’t you’, and he left us by the breakfast buffet with disgust and disdain in his beady eyes. ‘You did it for the tickets’–yes, just like I said–if they had only listened.We had warned them more than once. We have never been to another timeshare presentation. But that parting slam shot of his at us reminded me of what happened after Jesus fed all those people of the hillside having had only 5 barley loaves and 2 dried or pickled fish. Everyone gets their fill, with plenty of left-overs galore. What a miracle indeed! Their eyes could hardly believe what their stomachs were telling them–they were so full when He had almost nothing to feed them. Jesus had given them a sign that He is more than just a prophet, more than some special religious teacher, more than a renowned rabbi. Jesus is the Son of God sent from the Father, the Messiah promised and now present among them. Just look at those twelve baskets of left-overs. However, Jesus senses that there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Actually, there’s less going on–the people, He says, aren’t looking for signs of Jesus’ divine mission (John 6:26) but just to fill their stomachs. They’re not looking for Him, but for what He can do for them. And that hits home. How about me? And you? Just looking for the benefits, the blessings without falling in love with the Blessed Savior. The goodies without the necessary growing-pains of discipleship in Christ? Cheap grace, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer would say. Like Jesus saying to us, ‘you did it for the bread and fish, for your stomach’s sake’. ‘You did it for…’ More about this…next time!