The Riddle of the Bread Tree

grainThere is a riddle in the Talmud shared by Michael Frost in his great book The Shaping of Things to Come. It says, “If God intended us to live on bread why didn’t He provide a bread tree?” The answer given is that God could have, but prefers to provide grain, invite us to purchase a field and plant. He prefers we till the soil while He provides the rain. He prefers we harvest while He provides the sun. He prefers we grind, knead and bake the bread while He provides the air and strength in our muscles. Why? So we may partner with Him in creation.

How does this relate to our season of prayer and outreach? Our friend Alvin Vandergriend, of Harvest Prayer Ministries, shared with The Table a great thought on prayer and blessing others. He said, “Without God we can’t, and without us God won’t.” We could try to bless our neighbors with our own energy and initiative. But as many of us have experienced, there is never enough of our energy for all the good things we desire to pursue, and the result of relying solely on ourselves is often exhaustion and/or discouragement. It’s like trying to farm without seed or rain. On the other hand, God could simply bring about restoration and blessing (and often does); He has that ability and power. He could simply provide a bread tree, but this is not His desire. His desire is for His people to journey with Him, to grow in Him, and to glorify Him.

As we journey on mission together, we are not heading out on our own power or initiative. God goes before us. He desires to bless those He is bringing to our minds to pray for, and He desires for us to grow and be blessed as we pray, and He desires in all of this to journey with us, to partner with Him in creation and blessing. So here’s to the journey ahead, with its struggles and growth, to His provision and our empowered work in partnership with Him! May the glory be His as we go with Him!

One Response to “The Riddle of the Bread Tree”

  1. Colleen June 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Reminders like this are important! Thank you.

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