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Giving Up The Coyote Life

Article Type: Pastor to Pastor

By Rev. Phillip Leo, Church Communications Director

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:27, NIV)

I saw it this morning, while walking my dog. An hour before daybreak, the shadowy figure of a coyote disappeared and re-appeared between the streetlights just ahead of us. After my dog let out a nervous huff, it stopped, turned to stare at us, and then kept trotting ahead.

Head lowered, the coyote continually looked left and then right as it slinked its way down the street. This was no morning stroll; it was a breakfast drive-thru. The coyote needed only a single, absent-minded rabbit to forget itself in the cold, dark morning hour.

To me, the coyote-life looks lonely and tired. Always hungry and on the prowl. Sounds exhausting!

There’s a human version of this life. It’s the relentless pursuit of the next big score, which can be almost anything — recognition at work or school, a pay-out, a big break, a promotion, even a BOGO coupon!

But the prize isn’t really the point; it’s the pursuit that matters. When the hunt ends, so does the next opportunity to pounce!

Remember the story of the feeding of the five thousand? Jesus wanted the crowd to see the abundance of God’s Kingdom; instead, He got a band of followers who tracked him down for another free lunch.

Yikes!

How does anyone mistake the Kingdom for a crust of bread? It’s easy, when living is replaced by survival. Living is joyful, challenging and meaningful. Survival is dreary, droning and depleting.

Here’s a directive from Jesus for anyone tired of coyote living: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.” (John 6:27, NIV)

In other words, turn your gaze away from the next big score and look instead to Jesus.

Why?

Because life with Jesus is the end of “coyote living” and the beginning of friendship with God. Loneliness is exchanged for relationship, emptiness for hopefulness, and searching for satisfaction.

Where to start? Check your gaze.

Food that spoils keeps us turning right, then left, then right again. But food that endures to eternal life gives us tunnel vision for seeing only what’s ahead — Jesus.


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Rev. Phillip Leo is the Church Communications Director at Barnabas Foundation. Read Phil's online bio.