I have been thinking about bread.
I do this a lot. I’m kind of a carbaholic. I could absolutely eat a whole loaf of bread, plain-and-dry, by myself. My dad has always made homemade bread, usually searching for the perfect honey wheat recipe. The loaf he made a few days ago was exquisite (and gone much too soon.) I’ve been meaning to make rosemary bread for weeks now. It’s another favorite of mine.
But, you know how my mind works. It’s kind of tangled. As Reggie says in Charade, “I associate a lot of things with a lot of other things.” Everything connects. Everything represents something else. Everything reflects.
So I’ve been thinking about bread symbolically. And as is usually the case, when I begin to think about something, I suddenly hear about it everywhere. And see it everywhere. (And no, I haven’t just been sitting in a bakery.)
One of my ministers is doing an excellent series on The Lord’s Prayer. The last talk I got to hear was on the line, “give us this day our daily bread.” You can listen to it (or watch it) for free here or on itunes. It’s really quite good.
But have you ever pondered that verse of the prayer? Ever noticed how Jesus doesn’t tell us to ask for a storehouse of bread? Or access to a local bakery, night and day? Or even enough bread for today…and tomorrow? It’s interesting. At least to me…
This year will be the first time my family recognizes Lent. I wrote before about our Advent journey. We, as a family, are trying to be more Christ-focused and we’re finding that many Christ followers who have gone before us have given us useful tools for this. Advent was one good tool and we feel that Lent will be another. We’re excited. But a little scared too. Advent was, in a way, about getting excited about Jesus. Lent is, in it’s own way, about repenting of our own sins and handing them, again, over to God. Watching them placed on Christ’s shoulders as He hangs on the cross. It’s a weighty business.
When we had a family meeting about Lent, we talked about the purpose and history behind it. We told the younger children about the significance of the forty days and of giving something up. We came to a conclusion to all give something up as a family. It was a moment of nervous laughter. Not one of us will forget this Lenten season, I can be sure.
Yet, again, we spoke of bread. We spoke of Jesus’ 40-day fast and the words of the tempter, “turn that stone to bread, if you’re so hungry!” But Jesus wasn’t as hungry for bread as was for “every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
So as I was spending my Valentine’s Day with the charming Charles Spurgeon, I found this little passage. It is Spurgeon’s thoughts on a passage in 2 Kings which is very interesting. A man named Jehoiachin is receiving daily rations from a kindly king, but it can teach us much about how God provides for us. It is preparing my heart for Lent already…
“And for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according his daily needs, as long as he lived.” 2 Kings 25:30
“Jehoiachin was not sent away from the king’s palace with provisions to last him for months, but i was given to him as a daily supply. In this He provides us with a picture of the happy position of all the Lords’ people. A daily portion is all that a man really wants.
We do not need tomorrow’s supplies; that day has not yet dawned, and it’s wants are as yet unborn. The experience that we may suffer in the month of June does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet; if we have enough for each day as the days arrive, we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day is all that we can enjoy.
We cannot eat or drink or wear more than the day’s supply of food and clothing; the more we have, the more we have to store, and we worry about it being stolen. One cane help a traveler, but a bundle of sticks is a heavy burden. Enough is not only as good as a feast, but it is all that the greediest glutton can truly enjoy. This is all that we should expect; a craving for more than this is ungrateful.
When our Father does not give us more, we should be content with his daily allowance. Jehoiachin’s case is ours; we have a sure portion, a portion given to us by the king, a gracious portion and a perpetual portion. Here is surely ground for thankfulness.Beloved Christian reader, in matters of grace you need a daily supply. You have no store of strength. Day by day you must seek help from above. I tis avery happy assurance that you are provided with a regular allowance.
In the Word, through the ministry, by meditation, in prayer and waiting upon God you will receive renewed strength. In Jesus everything you need is provided for you. So enjoy your continual allowance. Never go hungry while the daily bread of grace is on the table of mercy.”