My Daily Bread
"Give us this day our daily bread," Christ teaches us to pray in Matthew 6. And earlier in the book, our Lord tells us that "man does not live by bread alone" (Matt. 4:4, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3). Somehow while reflecting on these two verses earlier this week, I realized that I had been spiritually starving myself recently.
How, you ask, have I been spiritually starving myself? It was really very simple: I was not feeding myself, even though I had ample food -- and good food -- available. It wasn't a case of hunger strike; it was more a case of neglect. A silly way to starve myself, for sure: I am like a beggar who sits in front of a king's feast and finds myself more interested in the cockroaches who are fighting beneath the table.
Upon leaving Philadelphia, I left more than humidity and traffic behind. I also left a community that was so saturated with grace that I was seeing and hearing the Gospel almost every time I turned around. To return to my food analogy, it was like a continual buffet of delicious and nutritious food, so that eating healthy was never a burden and I certainly didn't need to take any vitamins.
This isn't to say that my friends in Philadelphia weren't sinners or there weren't challenges while I was in school; nor is it to say that the Gospel isn't working powerfully in the people I encounter every day in Montana. In fact, just the opposite is true. But somehow I fell into a rut (however briefly) of neglecting God's Word, of not getting ample portions of my daily bread in order to sustain me as I face the challenges of beginning a new life.
One of the blessings that I see in my life now - not just for this week but for the long haul in my Christian life - is the very thing that sustained me in Philadelphia is what must help me in Montana, and that is the Christian community. There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian -- just like one person doesn't produce all of his own food, we have to learn to rely on each other for our "dietary supplements." God's Word must be primary in our lives, but our fellow pilgrims are the ones who will help us put it in its proper place.
I praise God for the fellowship of my Christian brothers and sisters who (knowingly or unknowingly) offer me food for my soul. And I also praise God that he has helped me to see that I need to be intentional about getting my daily bread and finding people with whom I can feast together on the riches of God's grace.