After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, the Devil came to tempt Him. After the first temptation in which Satan told Jesus to make stones into bread, Jesus replied, “It is written, Man shall not life by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
The trouble today is that most of us overstuff ourselves with the bread of the world until we can hardly stagger under the weight of it; and yet, we starve the very spark of life in us that lives eternally. We are so busy trying to gain material things and impress one another that we almost completely ignore the One Who is most worthy of our love and devotion. We are often deluded into being “too soon old and too late smart.”
A large percentage of our church members do not really study the most important text of all time, the Bible. The most commonly heard excuse is “I don’t have time.” Even on the Sabbath, we much too often complain about not having anything to do, and at the suggestion of studying God’s Most Holy Scriptures, a shrug of the shoulders is frequently the scene. Even though most of us admit that Sunday is “God’s Day,” many of us do not make it “God’s Day.”
During the week, we indulge ourselves in the bread of the world. We go to school or do some type of work where we devote all our time and attention to the things of the world. We have our catechism classes or society meetings; but then again, do we? If we are there in body but not in heart and mind, how can we truly say that we are there? If we think about our work or what we will do as soon as we get out of the meeting or maybe what we will do next Friday or Saturday night, we will already be getting a stomach ache from eating too much evil bread. And what do we do when the Beacon Lights of the Standard Bearer arrives? Do we read the news items and a few short articles that catch our eye, or do we sit down and read and think about all the articles?
As we walk with the people of the world, we often have a tendency to dine with them, eating their evil morsels; when instead, we should not be ashamed to partake of the bread of life and let our “inner lights” shine. It is our duty as Christians to show the world that we are Christians and that we are not embarrassed to speak out against a statement with which we disagree. We are also overeating when we listen to a worldly person take our Lord’s Name in vain, yet it is frequently too easy to go right along with the world. If we do not care to be Christians in our everyday walk of life, we cannot really care about eating the bread of life and about actually being a Christian.
Then Saturday comes, many times with the feeling that it has crept up on us much too soon. The time has come to prepare for the Sabbath at a time when we feel that last Sunday has just gone by. As we look back at the previous week, we see that we are sick from consuming so great an amount of worldly bread. Bread of this kind seemed so much more appealing at the time, like a piece of delicious pie in comparison to a little-favored vegetable. Then, to top all this deadly sickness, we spend late hours on Saturday nights to get a quick final taste of the worldly bread before the Sabbath dawns.
We wake up on the Sabbath day and prepare ourselves for the morning service. We go to Church, but are we really there? Is it difficult to keep our eyes open or to listen to the sermon? Do too many of us doze off during prayer and hear only the “Amen” at the close? Then we go to our Young People’s Society meetings. We usually have prepared our single assigned verses, probably as quickly as possible copied from an available commentary. Instead, we should have studied the whole section to be discussed and should have been prepared to give our own ideas on the subject. What about Sunday afternoons? Can we listen to a radio service or read and study God’s Word, or do we have to sleep off the waste of the past week? And then are we ready for another Church service and possibly a singspiration?
At this time, it is suitable to turn to Psalm 34:1-4, which was written by David when he changed his behavior before Abmimelech. Here we read: “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together. I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
We, too, must change our behavior and eat more of the bread of life. We may prefer to partake of the evil bread of the world which is much more appealing at the time, but the bread of life is really more appealing in the end because it keeps us healthy. The Bible is the most precious treasure to be found in all the world and yet many of us are too overstuffed with the worldly bread to know its value. The value of the Bible can only be genuinely known if we partake of the bread of life. Do we have room for the Bread? If we don’t, we had better make room!
Originally Published in:
Vol. 30 No. 7 November 1970