Something weird is going on. A couple of weeks ago we went to a yummy gourmet grocery/deli in downtown Chicago for lunch. It was the girl’s birthday and a special treat was in order. Fox and Obel has thee most wonderful tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (neither of which I usually like!) Anyway, the server gave us an extra loaf (yes, loaf) of bread with our soup, but no one had any room left to eat it.
Now, if you know anything at all about me it is that I LOVE BREAD. My mom was telling us that her uncles used to forego all sugary treats at the end of a meal and instead ask for homemade bread. I come by it honestly. If all I had to live on was bread, cheese and wine I could easily survive. Ok, I lie. I need butter too. So it was with sheer excitement I wrapped up my lil loaf of specialty French bread, already imagining an evening of floury bliss.
We left the deli and walked about a half block when, there on the corner, was a filthy, scruffy, destitute man digging through the garbage can. Chrissy and I stopped dead in our tracks. Homeless people always tug at our heartstrings; their plight immediately weighs us with burden and both of our “helps” gifts kick into high gear. I know better than to give street folks money though; free cash is rarely a practical solution. But I once witnessed a commuter hand over their brown bag lunch; it inspired me to share mine whenever I walked the streets of the city.
And then I remembered the bread. Well, long story short, (I keep trying!) the hungry rover got the bread.
In and of itself that story would not cause me pause. Except last night the same thing happened! I purchased a “buy one get one free” La Brea French Baguette at the grocer during the day, this to compliment a salad I was bringing for dinner at a friends. Turned out she already had bread and, since she is gluten-free, my morsel was happily repackaged and returned.
As an evening rain soaked the city we gathered our belongings, said our goodbyes and headed out for home. It was late, we were tired and consequently we missed our turn. We wound up in an area of Charlotte that isn’t particularly known for bonus bankers. On the corner stood a man holding a sign and on it he had written “hungry, homeless.” The baguette knocked my knee.
Yup. I did. Rolled down the window and handed him the bread.
437 words later I actually have a point. Whenever faced with a “hmmmm” moment my tendency is to evaluate. What might God want me to learn, what eternal truth do I need to hear? So I pulled out my concordance, searched through the “bread” section, and proceeded to fumble through my Bible. This is what I read….
“When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” John 6:25~34
Jesus, the bread of life, was standing in front of the people and, even after this exchange “yet did not believe.”(vs 36) The crowd could only focus on the bread (I understand this.) I’d often wondered my response if I had been there (and self-righteously thought I surely would have thrown all whole grain to the wind and instead recognized Jesus!)
Moving right along in Counseling, John MacArthur says I probably would also have missed the point.
“Often Jesus’ teaching was difficult for [the disciples] to understand immediately. In fact, much of what He told them meant nothing to them until after His resurrection….After Jesus ascended to heaven, one of the crucial ministries of the Holy Spirit was to bring to the disciples’ minds what Jesus had said and to teach them what He meant.” Prior to Pentecost, “the Holy Spirit was often present with believers, but he did not indwell them.”
The indwelling Holy Spirit is a supernatural reality counselors depend on when counseling believers. It is He “who ministers truth to the hearts of those whom he indwells. The Spirit guides us into the truth of God’s Word. He teaches us, affirms the truth in our hearts, convicts us of sin and often brings to mind specific truths and statements of Scripture that are applicable to our lives.”
Talk about filling.