Bread, Wonderful Bread

It’s the Christmas season and I will soon be baking for my neighbors. It’s my gift to them at Christmas time.  What I bake takes a different twist every year. This year I’m thinking about bread. I love bread in every shape, size and flavor. Pumpernickel, sourdough, whole wheat, rye. Hard and crusty, tough and chewy, airy and soft; there isn’t a bread I’ve met that I don’t love. In fact, I think I could actually live on bread alone, with all due respect to the Lord’s wisdom. That’s why my reading today struck me so profoundly.

In John 6 Jesus teaches about bread. He is the bread of life. We must consume His body in order to live.  Many of the disciples listening to Jesus were offended by his teaching, and I understand all the reasons why His words offended their Jewish minds, but it gave me pause to ask myself if I would be offended if someone offered me good bread to eat. Would I pass it up under any circumstances? I think not! Slather it thick with butter and pour some honey on it!

In fact, though I am as busy as the next mom at this time of year, I have yet to forget to eat. I mean to feed my physical body. If you know me you know that I don’t miss a meal! But honestly, my quiet time often takes a back seat to, well, everything else that is pressing in on me from the refrigerator calendar. Dates and deadlines leer at me from across the room driving me from my chair and into action. I know that, spiritually speaking, I’m starving myself to death and wasting away, but I can’t seem to take time to eat the Bread that has come down from heaven - and you wouldn't like me when I’m hungry (picture the Hulk here!).

If I were to be completely honest, I would have to admit that this problem is not limited to the Christmas season. It is often a struggle to get myself in that kitchen chair with the Bread of Life open before me, knife and fork in hand, ready to be fed. Why does it offend me so to have to take the time to eat? I make time for every other meal without hesitation, though I may gulp it down from a paper bag en route to the next pressing commitment. Even that sack of empty calories is enough to keep me functioning for the next couple of hours, and I paid good money for it too!

You get the point. It’s an old old story. I’m not here to lay on a guilt trip, but I would like to ask a collective question. Are you hungry? Jesus talked about eternal life beginning with the Bread of Life and maybe you’ve got that eternity thing sewn up. But eternity begins for the believer today. Today is a part of your eternity. Are you rushing around in your eternity unfed? Think about what you’re like when you’ve missed a physical meal. Got the picture? It looks the same spiritually. 

Stop right now and open up that 100 calorie snack pack and get some fuel for your day. Maybe it isn’t a whole meal - you can get that later - but give yourself something to go on for the next couple of hours. Then recharge when you begin to feel depleted, exhausted, and run down. (Or run over!!) If you have time to feed your body, you have time to feed your soul.  

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  Matthew 4:4