On Bread Alone
My sister-in-law is a fabulous cook.
When we are at their house, she and my brother seem to whirl in slow motion around their kitchen, hovering over the stovetop, twirling around the island, gliding over to the fridge, and flowing past the spice cabinet, together and separately, as if it were some kind of culinary ballroom dance.
He leads. “We need this diced.” And she follows. “Are you ready for the sauce?”
None of us have ever in our long legged lives tasted anything from their kitchen that was less than outstanding.
Especially when it comes to pies, cakes and bread.
When my mom’s 75th birthday was approaching, she asked my brother if we could celebrate at his house.
It’s located in a central geographic spot, easy for everyone to get there. Their home is also big enough for the whole family to hang out together. That was part of the motivation behind her request. But I’m pretty sure Mom was also thinking about the plethora of possibilities from the portal of the pair who do the kitchen dance.
As it turned out, all expectations were exceeded as we filled our plates with homemade cinnamon rolls of three different kinds, pumpkin, orange and “regular.”
Photo – just an example of what might rest on the kitchen island at my brother’s house
Every Culture Has Its Bread
Every culture has its bread. All the world over, people knead it and roll it and bake it into tradition-filled shapes of tastiness.
God created us with the capacity to enjoy bread, and even the yearning for its taste. But here’s the thing. Lest we be tempted to think we could live on it, Jesus reminds us that we can’t.
No matter how gooey and sweet the cinnamon roll, it can only be a secondary sustenance.
I wonder if this analogy is understandable to our millennial kids. Whereas, those of us Over Fifty grew up on a side of bread and butter, our Under Forty children much prefer veggies roasted in olive oil.
Hopefully, these powerful words still pierce the hearts of all who read them, no matter what’s actually on our plate.
Every Person Has a Weak Point
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’”
Jesus knew the fulfilling nature of bread. His mother had likely baked a jillion hot loaves over the years of feeding her family. But why did Satan tempt a hungry Savior to turn stones into bread and not figs or lamb chops or a beautiful red wine?
I think it might partly be because Jesus was alone and hungry and he needed some serious comfort. And bread is a serious comfort food.
At his weakest point, Satan tempted Jesus to comfort himself with a quick fix. Turn these stones into bread, he coaxed, and find satisfaction in the filling of your stomach.
Same Old Trick
Isn’t that the same old trick he uses on you and on me? When we’re at our lowest, weakest moments, doesn’t the enemy of our souls whisper the same temptation in your ears and mine?
Drink this, do that, buy the shoes, eat the cake.
Use your powers. Make it happen. Comfort yourself quick, he says. Let’s get this trial over with.
It is Written
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation with simple words that did serious battle. He quietly wielded the most powerful weapon at his disposal. The double-edged sword. The word of God.
No matter the level of our hunger, we can use the same words to get through our temptations. We only need remember that it is the word of God that truly sustains us.
Sourdough From a Starter
Have you ever smelled the aroma of sourdough bread baking in the oven? If you haven’t, I wish you could.
Someone gave a sourdough starter to my SIL when her three kids were little and she had some spare time at home. The baking of bread began with two loaves on every Monday, then morphed into cinnamon rolls for guests and gifts.
Let me tell you, Gina’s bread is the best you’ve ever put in your mouth. If we could live on bread alone, that’s the bread we would want to eat.
However, try as we might, no one can live on bread alone (even Gina’s cinnamon rolls) – but we can live abundantly, deeply satisfied on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Happy 75th birthday, Mom!
Encouraging a life filled with everyday intentional adventure as we feast on every word,
PS: Here are a few other posts you might enjoy.