It’s been said that in this life there are givers and there are takers. The same is true among the church. One sure fire way to identify a wolf in sheep’s clothing is to watch for the takers. God is love (1 John 4:16) and not just any love, but agape love. That’s to say, a true, caring, selfless, self-sacrificing, giving kind of love. Christ came to be our teacher and example, and as Christians (which means “like Christ“) we strive to be a reflection of Christ to the world even as Christ was a reflection of God to us. So sense God is love, in essence what we are really trying to be is a reflection of love to the world. Therefore, a true Christian can never be “a taker” but rather “a giver“.
In Matthew 14 many people selflessly pursued Christ, giving their all to make Him and His words their only concern and priority to the point of fasting for three days while following and listening to Jesus. When it was time for them to depart Jesus decided to bless their selfless sacrifice. Not wanting them to leave weak and hungry He preformed the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Soon, word got around about the blessings the faithful had received and the takers came seeking Jesus. Only unlike the previous time, they were not seeking Jesus’s face but rather, His hands. They didn’t really want Him, they wanted what He could do for them. They were not true followers of Christ, they were followers of the lust of their own flesh and wanted Him to fulfill it for them. This greatly displeased Christ and His disgust was evident by His reaction to them.
“When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour 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. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” – John 6:24-36
Jesus knew that the raw unflattering, unfluffed, unfiltered truth of God would offend those guilty of the offense and cause the goats to separate from the sheep.
“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?” -John 6:60-61
“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” – John 6:66-69
So never hide discernment or sugar coat the Word of God to appease the crowds. Instead, commit to do as Christ did and always speak truth, even if it drives the masses away. Know that it’s only running the goats out of your sheepfold. Those few that stayed with Jesus that day, went on to change the world forever. God can do more with a hand full of selfless, faithful, God fearing, heart of Christ seeking people wanting to truly serve Jesus, then a multitude of selfless counterfeits wanting Jesus to serve them.