Between church services Sunday morning I took a few minutes to do one of my favorite things – people watching. I observed men, women, and children of all ages, colors, sizes, and classes. Some men wore wrinkled sport shirts, others spiffy sport coats; some had donned long pants, others wore shorts; a few shiny wing tips clicked across the foyer while others silently strolled in holey tennis shoes. The women were about as varied as the men. Some chose to wear their “Sunday best”, while others came in faded jeans and t-shirts. I spotted painted hair, long hair, short hair, the cleanest of the clean cut and those with more tattoos than not. But what stood out most was the way they smiled, greeted, and hugged even those who looked most opposite from them.
After worship began, I stopped singing for a minute or two to merely listen to this motley crew offering up their praises to God. I couldn’t help but think, “This is what heaven is going to be like!” Men, women, and children from every tribe and nation living together in a perfect world where there will be not even a hint of discord, jealousy, or evil of any kind. Each of us will get to walk with Jesus in the cool of the day. We will meet up with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while. We will all sit at the table with the Bread of Heaven Himself! Just imagining all of that made me hope that Jesus would come back right then and load His bus bound for Heaven.
But then … I remembered. There are still so many I haven’t shared my Bread with; So many who will never taste Heaven. Too many times I’ve loaded others’ plates with large helpings of do’s and don’ts, a hearty side of religious correctness, and then for good measure, sprinkled it all ever-so-lightly with a smattering of unrelated Scriptures. Their mouths were filled, but their souls remained malnourished. They were starving for Bread.
It makes me think of that old Andy Griffith episode with the backwoods Briscoe Darling and his boys eating dinner with Andy, Aunt Bea, and Opie. The Darlings had no idea about correct table manners or etiquette. All Briscoe knew was that after the bread plate passed through the hands of his four hungry boys, it was completely empty – and he was hungry. So, what did he do? He yelled to Aunt Bea in the kitchen. At the top of his lungs he shouted, “BREAD!” He didn’t know the rules. He had never been taught. All he knew was that he was hungry. So, what did Aunt Bea do? She brought him bread.
We live in a hungry world. Those who don’t know Jesus, inside our church walls and out, are crying out, “BREAD!” It’s our job to simply share with them the Bread of Life. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 TPT)
Quite honestly, I’m not exactly sure how I can best supply the world with Bread, except to keep my own plate filled so that I can offer up one plateful at a time. Since prayer hasn’t failed me yet, I’m praying that each of us fill our plates to overflowing with Jesus, so that we have plenty of Him to share. I’m praying we all hear the cry of the starving.
As a little girl in Gadsden, my parents would often drive past the Merita Bread Company while the bread was being baked. I still remember that smell. It was glorious! Wouldn’t it be grand if others were simply drawn to the aroma of Christ trailing behind us? Some will be. Others will find it repulsive. Still others will want to know just exactly how that Bread has nourished us and saved us from starvation.
“Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christlike fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.” (2 Corinthians 2:14b-16 NLT)
There are many more Darlings than we realize who would love to be invited to our table for a taste of our Bread! They don’t need to have all of their table manners down pat. They don’t have to look like us. They just need to know they are welcome to join us at the table so Jesus can fill their souls. Once they taste our Bread, they might even ask to take a dip in the Oil of the Spirit. “Be careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 TPT)
Pass the Bread, please.