Soul Food for Real Living
Christopher B. Harbin
2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 78:23-29; John 6:24-35; Eph 4:1-16
Food is a pretty basic concern. It is not a pressing issue for us, yet we identify concerns over physical needs. Most often we miss the degree to which over two-thirds of the world population worries over water and food. We live surrounded by food in abundance: store shelves packed with more food than will be sold, refrigerators stuffed with items we will discard when or before they turn funny colors for harboring colonies of mold. We overindulge in food, while children and adults in our own country and around the world will sleep on empty stomachs tonight.
We are blind to the desperate food concerns of so many when our supply is overabundant. It may cost more than we wish, but our food is readily available. We pass up the food set before us, allowing preferences to dictate what we choose to eat. Such is not the case for the majority of the world's population or for the crowds in Jesus' day. Some had abundant resources, but most lived hand to mouth, barely earning enough to feed their families sufficiently for survival. That was the context of Jesus' words about bread, food, and God's provision.
Jesus' audience did not look on food as a given. Abundance was for those few wealthy enough to flaunt their wealth by throwing out leftovers from daily feasting. Meat was a special item only available to the larger public on feast days. Bread was enough of a concern for daily existence.
Is it any wonder Jesus speaks of being the bread of life? Bread was the essential food of the people. It was the food they relied on to get them through the day. It was not an extra item on the plate, but the heart of most every meal. All too often, bread was the only ingredient in one's normal diet. It was the food for which one toiled all day in the fields, the rock quarries, or building the king's palace. When Jesus speaks of being God's provision, it is not ...
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