I recently wrote you a letter detailing how to make bread. I did not, of course, include how to prepare a garden to grow wheat, or all the challenges of the growing season. I didn't explain how to harvest a wheat crop or thresh it into grain. Although I've ground my own grain, I didn't detail the process for you in that letter. I started with an assumption that you have a ready supply of milled flour.
Even starting with flour, there is considerable effort and hours of time required to make bread. I think I would be gobsmacked if I counted up the time and effort required to go from a grain of wheat seed to that first bite of hot buttered toast. But that's what most of the world has done for most of history. Bread was a symbol of labor, diligence, skill, and a dash of good fortune.
As I've meditated on the simple phrase, "I AM the bread of life" from John, I've appreciated Jesus in a new way. Just as Boaz handed Ruth his own bread while she was busy gleaning, he hands us Himself, spiritual bread.
He's taken all the work on Himself, and given us all the blessing.
He's given us life. He nourishes us with the fruits of His labor. From the first grain of promise in Eden until He rose and gave us new life, He spent centuries and made a sacrifice we scarcely comprehend.
We look at the overprocessed loaves of frankenwheat we toss in our grocery carts, and don't understand or appreciate the significance of Christ's statement. Those loaves cost us next to nothing in time or money or effort. Even when I've spent nearly two full days making Simple Gifts loaves, most of the time was waiting, not working, and all of the heavy effort was accomplished by my Kitchenaid. Imagine how startled Ruth must have been. She knew, first hand, the back-breaking toil required to make a single pita so she and Naomi could eat. It was not a small thing to her to receive bread.
The Germans have a beautiful saying that roughly translates to "He who eats my bread sings my song." Loaves of bread are as unique as fingerprints. Today, take just a minute to think about Jesus, the Bread of life, and allow His song to fill your heart and mind.