Tag Archives: Daily Bread

Be a Real Tomato

Ever picked a tomato out of your garden and chomped down on it right away, letting the juice run down your chin?  Remember the incredible explosion of taste?  I challenge you to repeat that experience with any tomato you find at the store.  The primary motive of those who grew tomatoes for the store was making money not developing taste.  In the eyes of business, it takes too long to let a tomato grow naturally.  It’s too expensive to grow tomatoes for deep rich taste.  They work for tomatoes that look good, don’t bruise and survive lengthy warehousing and shipping.   That’s why store-bought tomatoes aren’t tasty.

There’s an illustration there about the difference between living by the ways of the world and living by the ways of God.  The world’s ways are all about making money and having stuff.  The world is more concerned with looks than it is with taste.  God intends for us to live and grow in His garden, receiving His provision on His schedule – all the things Jesus meant by “daily bread.”  The ways of God may seem inefficient to the world, but God’s ways develop “tasty” people.  When we grow and develop in harmony with God’s ways, life is better – it just is.  If you understand that, this quote from James doesn’t seem as harsh as it otherwise would:

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

At first glance, that sounds like the angry utterance of someone who thinks it is sinful to enjoy life!  But what James is really saying is, “Be a real tomato!”  Live and grow in God’s garden in step with His ways and in harmony with His rhythms.  Receive your daily bread with gratitude and joy.  If you go chasing after beauty, riches and fame you just may achieve those things.  But you’ll miss out on the tastiest life.  Instead, look to your Father with humility and thankfulness.  Be a real tomato.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

 

Enough

The next time you are running low on food and 5000 men show up for dinner with their wives and kids, you might want to review how Jesus showed His disciples to handle it (You can read it in Matthew 14:13-21).  But most of us won’t ever be in that situation; is there anything in this episode for us?  Anything that we can apply to life as we experience it, one ordinary day after another?

When preachers deal with this passage, their points typically go something like:

–   “When Jesus gives you something impossible to do, He will make it possible.”

–   “Don’t worry about what you don’t have; bring what you do have to Jesus and give it to Him”

Those are great principles and make compelling sermons, but how do they apply to us in our every day circumstances?    Another way to ask that question is, “Can you think of any example in your own life where these principles were applied?”    We all know stories of great missionaries who lived like this, but what about the rest of us “Joe the Plumber” kind of people?

The lessons that Jesus demonstrated that night, feeding 5000 families, were not simply for the disciples.  All those people in the crowd were fed, too.  Jesus was showing them something, too.  But what?

As you ponder those questions, consider this:  Jesus taught us, every day, as we pray, to ask God, for bread – daily bread.  Enough for the day.  In that prayer, Jesus was building on God’s training protocol for the Israelites, as they faced starvation in the desert.  Each day, He provided just enough manna for their needs that day.  No more, no less, except the day before the Sabbath.  On that day He provided a double portion, so they could rest on the following day.  “Give us today, our daily bread.”

As you face today, there is no way for you to know what the day holds, or how much “daily bread” you will need.  But God does.  Just before Jesus told us to pray, “give us today our daily bread,” He said:

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8, NIV)

Maybe your daily bread today will include food for 5000.  Maybe it will be strength and courage to make it through the day.  He knows.

Quote: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.