Both my father and grandfather worked in bakeries for many years and so because of that, I can’t smell bread and not be instantly transported back in time to my childhood sitting out front with my mom waiting for him to get off.

My dad said he couldn’t smell it anymore and that being the son of a baker often joked that it wasn’t until he was nearly in his teens that he knew bread came from anywhere besides their freezer.

They always had lots of bread…

But

If a man steals bread for his children how should we judge him?

Forced to make a choice between the “right thing” which is to obey the law, or the real thing, to do what’s in his heart, how should he respond?

Should he continue trusting God that somehow his children are going to be fed even though he’s watching them waste away before his eyes?

Assuming he’s exhausted all other avenues of charity at this point what should he do?

I know what I would do.

I’m sure there are many moral precepts from the Bible that we can apply this situation. There’s “thou shalt not steal”and for this scenario that seems to say it all. I do however find the stand Jesus took on the idea of keeping sabbath laws quite interesting and perhaps even relevant to this discussion.

Did you know that Jesus performed at least seven miracles on the sabbath during his three year ministry ? He also endured a lot of criticism by the Pharisees for it. Jesus’ answer to them was that the Sabbath was meant to be a joyful time of rest and communion with God not a burden to be kept. The Pharisees had turned something intended to be spiritual and refreshing into a religious and confining experience instead.

Is there any fair comparison to be made between the actions of Christ and our down on his luck dad?

The answer is yes,
no and
maybe!

The No:

I don’t feel as though Jesus would have attempted to rationalize stealing at all. By stealing the bread the man broke one of God’s laws not an ordinance of man like the ones the Pharisees trumped up against Jesus. He is just plain wrong.

The Maybe:

Jesus surely anticipated the reaction of the Pharisees but still chose to obey the Spirit of the law instead of the letter or unreasonable interpretation of the law. Do you think that the idea or spirit of the commandment “Thou shalt not steal” was intended to starve children or to be seen as more sacred than the lives of those children?

The yes:

Out of all the commandments Jesus said that there were two that were most important. In short to love God and love others. I think the reason He saw these as the most important is that if you kept these two you probably wouldn’t break any of the others.

image

Jesus wasn’t worried about how he appeared to the Pharisees or to the other people. He did what he did out of love. He healed on the sabbath because love was the higher law He chose to keep. Is there any other excuse God might accept for breaking one of his commandments other than love? Just because you took a loaf of bread that wasn’t yours to feed your starving children does that mean you didn’t intend on replacing it later? When you stand before God, which as a Christian means every day, would you beam with pride over the loaf of bread you didn’t steal and see the children that died as being God’s Will or intent?

I know that I wouldn’t.

At one time or another each of us finds ourselves in morally ambivalent circumstances. In our hearts we know whether our actions are motivated by lust and greed or for the love and care of other people. In my experience it’s usually a struggle between them that I sometimes win sometimes lose.

Give us this day our daily bread

By saying that we’re asking God to meet all of our needs both physical and spiritual. To guide us in the choices we make and help us to be more like His Son. Even though others might not understand how or why or even where our bread comes from..

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