Some years ago my wife got a bread machine, so she would regularly make fresh bread. The aroma of the baking bread filled and house and we hardly contain ourselves waiting for it to be ready to each. It was warm, the butter melting beautifully. It was heavenly. The funny thing is that because it didn’t have all the preservatives and additives that store-bought bread has, it would quickly get stale and lose its great, fresh flavor. Of course that meant that we would get another fresh loaf soon.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I think there is definitely a practical, physical application to this prayer. I think we do need to seek Him daily for all our needs, including our material resources and needs. We need to be daily dependent on Him for our very sustenance. This applies to all of us, “rich” or “poor” because the truth is that we are all poor in His sight. We can take nothing for granted. We need to recognize the true source of life – all aspects of life.
But, I also think there is a deeper, spiritual application here. In the Gospel of John, Jesus called Himself the bread of life:
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
Jesus was making a very important point about our relationship with Him. Bread represented the most basic food element, the basis for physical life. Jesus was identifying Himself as the source for real, spiritual, eternal life. Just as the crowd surrounding Jesus would not live long without actual bread to eat, our spirit is just as dependent on daily consuming spiritual food which only available from Him.
Over the years I’ve been a Christian, I have to admit that sometimes I let my spiritual bread get stale. It starts out innocently enough. Life gets hectic, stuff happens and I miss a couple of days without a devotional time. Those days turn into weeks and the freshness of the Now-word from the Lord is gone. The aroma of His presence dissipates and I’m left with stale bread. Subsisting on the crumbs of what I think He said to me “back then.” It becomes easy to forget. It becomes easy to get twisted back into the world’s mold. It becomes easy for the enemy to pick me off.
So let’s not settle for stale bread. Let’s not live off the crumbs when the Lord has so much more to give us. Please find a way to receive from our Great Baker, the freshest, most life giving, aromatic Bread to feed our souls every day.