Please excuse the vulgarity of this example, but it was on my mind this morning, and I think you will see why I wanted to write it down.
Let’s say we are several rats in a maze. There is no race, though some think there is, and there are several exits. Only one exit has the cheese. Once you exit the maze there is no going back. When you exit you will either fall into a dark empty trashcan, where you are trapped alone forever, or you walk into the creators house where there is an abundance of cheese and the creator to take care of you.
We go about our rat lives, doing what rats do, slowly making our way to the exits. Sometimes the creator of the maze blocks passages and opens new ones, and sometimes he sprinkles food around some rats and not others. Sometimes he opens new doors that lead to an abundance of food, and sometimes he closes off the doors that lead to food. The rats don’t realize that someone is giving them food, or changing the doors. They think that they might have done something to make these changes.
One day the creator of the maze picks up a rat named Tom. The creator shows Tom the correct path to get to the cheese at the end, and then he gives Tom an internal GPS (with a direct link to the creator) so he knows which way is right, and which is wrong. Tom shares what he was shown, and tells the other rats that the rumors of the cheese are real, and that he knows the way to get to it. The other rats don’t believe him, and even tell him that it is impossible to know the right way, if there even is cheese. They give him a hard time about meeting the creator of the maze, saying that this maze came from nothing and that no creator would care enough to help out a rat or show him the way.
Sometimes a rat will come along with a map to what they think is the right cheese. Once the destination is reached, those rats realize that it is imitation cheese but by then it is too late, and they each fall into their own trash cans. At other times, rats will begin to follow a head rat who promises great amounts of food and new open doors. The head rat says he knows the creator personally and that when he asks for new doors, the creator will give them to him. Sometimes the creator will open those doors, and sometimes he won’t. Some of those rats are given GPS, and some are not.
The creator tells Tom to speak specifically to Shelly. She is not convinced, but lets him talk about it. Soon the creator gives Shelly an internal GPS, and shows her the way. Together they start a group of rats who have been given GPS. Most of the rats in the group really have been given GPS, but some have not. The group talks about the creator and shares stories of how the creator has opened new doors for them, and closed others. They make plans to share the news about the creator with other rats. Sometimes when they are sharing, new rats will be given GPS, but they never know which ones will get it, so they just keep talking about it.
The creator is pleased with Tom & Shelly, and their group, because they tell others about him. He likes to give them new food. They ask for candy, but the creator gives them nuts. They don’t really like the taste of the nuts, but they know that the creator always gives them the right food. The rats realize that he knows what is best for them. Eventually Tom & Shelly get to the end of the maze, and there they find the cheese. They go into the creators house, where he promises to take care of them forever. They see that there are hundreds of other rats there, who had also been given GPS while inside the maze, and who now are living with the creator.
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” – John 6