BREAD, BREAD, BREAD
Bread. It’s a staple in almost every household in America. It’s possible that some people eat some form of bread for every meal. Toast for breakfast. A sandwich, burger, or hot dog for lunch. A roll for dinner. Bread, bread, bread. What would we do without bread? (As a side note, I completely understand those of you with a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease have had to find this out the hard way.)
I was intrigued recently by a story I heard about the Oklahoma State Cowboys football team. During a 3 hour rain delay last season in a game versus Tulsa, the locker room literally ran out of food for the athletes. The OSU coach’s wives made a run to the grocery store, bought the supplies for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, made an assembly line and fed the guys. Of all the things they could buy at the store, or even have catered in, they chose bread.
So, why the fixation with bread?
I was reading in Matthew 4 recently about the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil. When the devil first played upon Jesus’ hunger, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (NIV). At first glance, we might say, “Duh!” We can’t live on bread alone. And we should pay attention to what God says.
But this is such a familiar verse, I decided to probe further. Check out how the English Standard Version states the verse: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Did you catch the difference? In the NIV, it says “does not.” In the ESV, it says “shall not.” It changes from an informative statement to a command. We shall not live by bread alone. And we shall live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Wow!
I began thinking again how bread is such a staple in our homes. How much we eat it. How much it’s a part of our daily lives. Perhaps Jesus wasn’t necessarily speaking about bread as we know it. What if He were speaking about it symbolically? Metaphorically?
What is our “bread”? What kinds of things do we “live on”? What do we consume every day? What things do we crave? What are our perceived needs day to day?
I began generating a list:
- Monetary reward
- Compliments or good strokes from others
- Feelings of worth, value, and purpose
- A sense of contribution to something greater than ourselves
- Respect from peers
Are these the things we “live on”? Have these become our “bread”? Do they temporarily satisfy the deeper cravings we have inside us to the neglect of the other part of Jesus’ charge?
I believe the command made by Jesus is clear. We shall not live by these things. They shall not become our staple. They shouldn’t give us vital power in and of themselves. We can enjoy them. We can receive them. But they should not become the basic, principal, predominant necessities of our lives.
But how then, shall we live? “By every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In order to live by His words…we must be in His Word. Daily doses every day. Constant consumption. Frequent feeding. Incessant intake.
In the words of Ezekiel 3:3: Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
Fill your stomachs…with every word that comes from the mouth of God!