Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Milk and Bread

Maybe panicking at the first mention of a snow or ice storm is a southern thing, but rushing to the grocery store and emptying the milk and bread shelves isn't necessarily a practice reserved for the be-prepared southerner.  The first reported milk shortage during a storm was in Pittsburg in 1950.  Credit is also given to New Englanders during the blizzard of 1978.  

Storms are inevitable, and the run for milk and bread is real.  I do it every year. What if driving is impossible and we're shut in for days?  Why milk and bread? We'll need food that stays with us.  Bread and milk make us full.  Bread and milk will sustain us for days. 

During Anderson's ice storm a few weeks ago, my home was without power for thirty hours. The roads were clear, so we weren't shut in.  We drove to a restaurant for lunch and spent the day at my mom's house enjoying her television, heat, and internet.  If the roads had been treacherous, though, I was prepared. Funny thing. I didn't even need my milk and bread; instead, I filled up on donuts,  pop tarts, and coffee heated by the fireplace. 

Wow, how times change.  A week later in anticipation of a predicted snow day that became a disappointing rain day, I watched the late night weather report.  In Greenville, South Carolina, a reporter standing in the snow detailed the state of the grocery store.  Expecting the usual, "the bread and milk shelves are almost empty," I heard something that made me laugh then shake my head.  He announced there was PLENTY of milk and bread in the grocery stores because instead of milk and bread, customers were buying beer and chips. Last year, it was beer and pop tarts.

I now understand why my grandmother didn't watch the news for the last ten years of her life.  This revelation spoke volumes to me.  It's a perfect picture of both society and ME.

“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:34-35

The crowd wanted the same manna God gave to the Israelites every day in the wilderness. So, why did Jesus refer to himself as bread, as this manna?  In the diet of early civilizations, bread was a staple. It sustained. It nourished.  Bread was something they couldn't live without.    

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness. I Peter 2:2

Do I crave spiritual milk? Am I hungry for the Bread of Heaven?  Or, do I fill up with everything else the world offers?  Who or what satisfies me? What brings me through the storm? People, things, pleasures, and successes? If I fill up with the empty calories of chips and beer (for me, it's coffee and donuts), I won't crave milk no matter how many vitamins are in each glass.  I'm already dehydrated from the coffee.  If I'm already full of sugar from the donuts, I don't want bread. What's more appealing today? Beer and chips? Coffee and donuts? Or, milk and bread?

Instead of the emptiness the world offers, Jesus, the bread of heaven, provides eternal life.  He satisfies the spiritual hunger of those who believe in Him.  He quenches the thirst of those who crave and cry out for nourishment.  We mature by feeding on God's word and relying on Him for growth and comfort during a storm.  

What fills you? Is it the Bread of Heaven? Or, do you, like me often, fill up on man's wisdom and pleasures? What do you crave during a storm? It is spiritual milk provided by God's word? Or do you, like me too often, crave the empty distractions of gossip, popularity, or approval of man?  What is your comfort during a storm?

Speaking of snow days.....My friend, Pastor Robbie Garrett, shared a message Sunday on patience through the storms of life.

Hungry for milk and bread?