Hymn 171, Break Thou the bread of life
I must say that I did have some thoughts for this meeting but by Friday, they were all eaten up by worms; later I got some new thoughts and I hope these thoughts God will turn into bread.
I am thankful that we have the Old Testament because it helps me many times to understand why things are like they are and why I experience things like I do. The Old Testament helps me understand the manna that God’s people received out there in the desert. Moses told them to gather and leave naught till next morning, but some did, and the worms went into it. The people gathered it every morning and when the sun waxed hot, it all melted. On the sixth day, they gathered for two days and it didn’t melt and no worms were in it. Moses spoke to Aaron to take a pot and place an homer full of manna in it then place it in the ark before the Lord, for all generations. We have no laws in the New Testament on how to get the bread or when to get it for our souls or for others, but we get some good counsel and are glad for the hymn we just sang of Jesus being our law. We long to follow His example. We don’t want to worry and think something strange is happening, or something has gone wrong when we feel worms in the bread, or if the bread has melted away, because God has planned it that way. Perhaps it is to drive us closer to Him. It teaches us why we need to be closer to Him and it helps us learn dependency on Him.
There was a young brother in Germany who was last on the list to speak at a convention. Two days before, he started collecting some thoughts and had his little message to share, but how was he going to keep it fresh for the last meeting. The day before convention started, he was asked if he could speak in the first meeting because the older brother was sick and unable, and he did, and his bread was fresh. It was in God’s timing. The other brother spoke in the last meeting and his bread was also fresh. It was so suitable and it was all in God’s planning.
Sometimes we must do like Elijah did. When there was a famine in the land and it had not rained for a long time, he spoke to Ahab and said, “Now the rain will come.” Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel and cast himself down on the earth, putting his face between his knees and sending his servant out to look up, and when he looked he said, “There is nothing.” That servant was told to go again, and he went seven times. Many times I feel we need to go to God seven times, or more, before we get the living water and the living bread.
I was also very glad to see that the pot of manna was kept for the future generations; it was kept a long, long time. We read that we have a part in the Promised Land today, and that milk and honey is in it, a land flowing with milk and honey. Milk must be fresh to be good, but honey can be very, very old for it lasts forever. We have Jesus; we also have the emblems of the bread and the wine. The bread is to be kept fresh but the wine gets better the older it gets. Here at convention, we can have the fresh and the old sacrifices. We have the young sacrifices among us, but we also see the old sacrifices. Jesus is from eternity to eternity and we can barely grasp it. He stretches from the beginning foundation of the world to now, and His life and His sacrifice is as fresh amongst us today as if it had been given in our day. One day is as a thousand years with God, so it’s only a couple of days since Jesus died on the cross for us. It’s as fresh in our minds and hearts and thoughts as if it happened today.
If we have seen our loved ones suffer and die a couple of days ago, we have no other thought in our mind or heart but them today. That is how Christ’s death should be to us. His sacrifice is as fresh today as if it were given a few days ago, and God will help us keep His death fresh. Every Sunday, we have the privilege of taking part in that little piece of bread that represents His broken body and partaking of the cup of wine that represents His shed blood, and it helps us to remember the price that was paid for us on Calvary. How we get our bread is all different from one another, as our God is a God of variety. We see it in nature. There is a big variety in our body and immense differences in the members of our body, immense varieties of feelings and natures and ages, but God has made us all one in Christ. We are not identical but He has made us one in Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” Verse 14, “For the body is not one member, but many.” Verses 19-20, “And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.” Everyone here is not twenty-five years old, but many ages, and we all have had a lot to learn in lifetime. There are always new sacrifices to bring, new and fresh sacrifices to receive, and much fresher bread to get. We should not feel sorry if a little of our old nature dies when a newer, fresher sacrifice is received. God will give us fresh bread that can be brought to Him, a newer, fresher sacrifice.
We have an old friend in Finland who is very hearty. She once said that getting bread was very interesting for her, because she has much to learn, much bread to receive, with many new thoughts and new views on how to get to know Jesus better. She is a very hearty old soul. We have every reason to be positive, for God is a positive God; there is nothing negative about Him or in His kingdom; there is no darkness, no unrighteousness, nothing negative.
I have a little water bottle in my room which has written on it, “Think positive, and drink positive.” We can drink much that is positive; we can live a positive life and be positive in our fellowship with others. “And if the ear shall say, ‘Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?'” I think the ear should say to the eye, “You are such a nice colour and shape and can see so many wonderful things, you can turn from side to side and close off so much that you don’t want to see.” Then the ear would say, “I am really nothing, I can’t turn, I can’t close off anything that I don’t want to close off and I haven’t any special colour, but I’m still a member of the body.” And the foot could say to the hand, “You draw so nicely and can make such pretty pictures and write letters and even make sculptures, etc. that men can see; you are so useful.” The feet could say, “Here I am just carrying around a big load of weight that no one sees.”
We see many divisions in the world and there is a lot of strife between people because of these things. So many have expressed their thankfulness for their church and for the fellowship and for the workers in this convention, and it just shows me that you are one in Christ – and there are no divisions. These thoughts could come easily into our mind, but are they needed? We are different because we’ve learned to love the one that was different, the one that isn’t so easy to love yet we appreciate them, instead of envying them – we have learned that all members are needful for us. Whether someone gives me difficulty or whether they give me help, it is just to help us get to know Jesus better. We can think of Judas so close to Jesus and how Jesus loved him, but Jesus knew it had to be like that.
I also think of my mother and how she always felt different and unable to do things well. She had a younger sister that studied medicine and became a doctor. My mother’s parents always wanted her to study and get a good education but my mother didn’t. She just went to school and then left school and went to Sweden; in fact, she wanted only to help out an old neighbouring couple on their farm. That is what she liked to do. She felt so different because her parents weren’t satisfied with her. She came back to Denmark and we are glad, because it was there that she found our father. He was a very good father. Our mother felt she was never good enough, yet she knew she could be an example in the church she attended. When she became older, my mother always had room for guests. My brothers and I would give up our room for the visitors; we had room for many guests because mother and father had a very open home. Our mother wasn’t so exact about things, but that didn’t much matter. Our home wasn’t always so clean and the meals she served were often quite simple, and it was that old feeling of not being good enough that lingered. In that little church, there was a couple who had a big home that was just perfect. Sometimes mother went to meetings there and she would say to us afterward, “I feel so ashamed to go, because my home is so different; they have everything in order and it’s perfect and I feel unable.” There were many things we could comfort our mother with.
I think of our God as a God of variety. It does not matter to Him if our home is big and perfect, or whether it is small and not so perfect. I heard a sister worker from Pakistan speak of our friends living in mud huts there and she referred to them as palaces, so it does not matter. God is a God of variety; it matters to Him what is in our hearts, whether our heart is a place He can live and dwell in. It matters if the bread is kept for future generations, like the manna, kept because it’s in the presence of God.
That’s why old bread gets fresher and newer, because it’s kept in a clean heart; it is bread kept in a heart that stays in the presence of God. May God help us appreciate each other continually and value as we should the wonderful place we have as a member in the body of Christ.