Our Daily Bread

It’s the kind of winter cold around here where it hurts your lungs to breathe outside air, your hands sting from touching anything metal without a glove on, and if you’re outside for more than a couple of minutes, not bundled up, you risk severe exposure likely to result in frostbite, or worse.

You know… otherwise known as a typical Minnesota winter.

While I’m in South Dakota now, the cold is all too familiar, and I’m relieved it will be gone by the end of the week and our temperatures will rise well above zero once again.

This morning, as I went to gather eggs from the coop before they froze, I noticed the hens had frost on their backs. Charles Chickens, our handsome rooster, has had most of his comb tips blackened by the cold. Yesterday, most of the eggs froze before I could get to them. Today, I was able to save all but one before it froze and cracked open.

I have to make sure, no matter how stupid-cold it is, that the chickens have ample food and water. I feed them, they feed us. That’s our arrangement.

There’s another beast inside the house, that gets to stay warm and cozy, away from the elements outside.

If I don’t feed it every day, every single day, it loses its power within hours. I have to revive it, almost, to get it to come back to acceptable function, then nurse it to get it thriving again.

That little sourdough starter I began back after Thanksgiving has been feeding us fresh bread since early December. But only if I feed it, nurture it, and don’t neglect it.

That sourdough starter is actually a lot like the chickens. It feeds us if I keep it fed.

And one day, while mixing in the water and flour to keep it thriving, I realized the feeding of the sourdough is a lot like my own feeding from God’s word.

If I neglect it, I start to wither. Lose function. Lose faith. Things unravel quickly.

When I feed on the Word of God daily, my life is not only sustained, but enriched. I grow, I strengthen, I renew.

I’m not sure how much experience you have with sourdough, but along with being tasty as baked goods, it’s a mostly resilient kitchen staple. All the same, left neglected for too long or in too unfavorable of conditions, it can do worse than spoil or slime. It can die.

The same is certainly true of chickens. [pets, livestock, people….] If I went a few days without feeding my chickens our kitchen scraps or their daily portions, they would scrounge around and find something to eat. But over time, they would weaken. They may stop laying eggs. They may lose their feathers. And – especially in frigid conditions as we’ve had this last week – they can die.

If I’m not in the Word regularly – daily – and intentionally, my spirit can die.

And that is exactly what the slow, steady creep of busyness and distraction aims to do. If I have too much to do, if I get a late start, if I spill my coffee or if a family member is sick, and I spend all of my time chasing, catching, trying to stay ahead of my schedule (or at least not get drug too far behind it), the easiest thing for me to give up or neglect is time spent reading my Bible.

And the easiest way for me to fall further away from the Lord’s will and heart, is to neglect time reading my Bible.

Last January 1st, I started a plan on my Bible app to read through the Bible in a year. Every other time I’ve done the read-in-a-year goal, I’ve made it only so far, then fell behind, then quit.

I think I made it all the way to the end of October before I started to fall behind, and couldn’t keep up. But instead of throwing in the towel and being mad at myself and just stop reading the Bible, I’ve kept going.

Sometimes, I have to read verses, or even entire chapters, over again before I can understand what they’re saying, and feel like I can move on. Other times, I can read only a chapter or two before a child needs my attention or morning snuggles.

But I’m not quitting.

So I didn’t read it in a year. But I also didn’t stop reading it. I’m still in the Word, and I’m going to finish. For the first time in my life, I’m going to know I’ve read – and paid attention to – every single word of the Bible. Even the never-ending lists of numbers. Or names I can’t pronounce. Or “begat” genealogies. Every. Single. Word.

It might take me 14 months. It might take me 18. But I’m going to make it happen, and I’m not giving up just because I didn’t do it in 12.

I remember the first time I heard someone say, “Your Bible may be closed, but that does not mean your God is silent.” Whoa. Powerful. Open it up, read His words, let Him speak to you, over you, through you.

So while I’ve got chickens to feed, a sourdough starter to keep thriving, a family to keep fed three times (or three thousand times it feels like, some days) each day, I have to… no matter what… dig into the Word.

I can read devotionals, I can read commentaries, those are all fine and good and have their place – but they must not replace spending time in God’s Word to hear from Him directly. Reading what someone else says about it will only impart so much. Reading it direct from the Lord will matter so much more.

Memorize. Meditate. Daily.

And if I let the Word feed me, I, in turn, can feed others.

Even if it’s only with scrambled eggs and sourdough toast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.