Photo by Manfred Pecha on Unsplash

Excited to make a special Brazilian dish as a part of the menu for an upcoming special evening in the restaurant, our Executive Chef placed an order for a sack of some exotic dried grain.  Thinking he had ordered 5 pounds of this special grain, already far more than he needed, he was surprised to discover a 50-pound bag arrive with our next delivery. There was not enough time to bring in a smaller quantity before the event so the decision was made to open the large sack and leave us with 48 pounds of extra grain.

While the Chef worked hard to find other uses for this unused inventory, at the time we shuttered our operations and sold the business, I discovered a large bucket containing, easily, 40 pounds of leftover grain.  Over the preceding years, we had often joked that there was something magic about this pile of grain.  No matter how much we managed to incorporate into other recipes, the amount sitting on our pantry shelves never seemed to be depleted.

In a world where so much is lacking, what do we do when confronted by too much of something we don’t need?  Does this just become another burden to carry?  Does it highlight feelings of guilt when you choose to just discard the abundance you’re unable to employ?

How many children have been told to consider the plight of “hungry children” elsewhere while staring down at a plate of vegetables, wishing they could happily unload this burden by shipping off the remains to those who would be more eager to consume them?

This conundrum stands in contrast to last Sunday’s story of God providing manna to the Israelites when just enough of exactly what the people need arrives each day.  There is an abundance made available in just the right measures.  Those the Israelites are good at complaining, the daily ratio of the same menu must have kept them satisfied.

Portions of this theme will be echoed again this Sunday, as Elijah encounters a widow at Zarephath.  Though her pantry is nearly emptied, her jars of meal & oil don’t run dry.  Perhaps the widow and my Executive Chef had the same taste in grains?  More likely, God is once again demonstrating God’s faithfulness and steadfast pursuit of life, even in the face of death. 

May God’s peace come to you this day.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

God of grace and mercy, 

We believe, as the Holy Scriptures declare, that every human being is fearfully and wonderfully made; Every person is deserving of worth and dignity because each of us is created in Your wondrous image. It’s for this reason that we come to You in fervent and collective prayer for the hurting, hungry, and vulnerable – in our families, churches, and neighborhoods. In our cities, country, and around the world.  Amen.

“Prayer for Hurting, Hungry, and Vulnerable” – Bread for the World