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Imperfect gifts of enough

Updated: Jan 7

The first waiting has ended--and the dough is this mound of beauty-- risen to new heights overnight. And there's this sense of relief, peace, joy that comes--shared by bread makers--those who wait patiently for this moment of bread making--to move on to the next.


The bread maker's next waiting comes only after she works her hands through the risen dough--pounding, kneading, dividing--and much like a work of clay--she wants it perfect--a perfect work of art--almost too beautiful to eat, but to only sigh and gaze and smile.


Minutes before the bread maker pounds the dough she cuts her finger and the only way to stop the flow is to wrap her hand in a towel--leaving her crippled--handicapped--with only one hand to knead--shape and divide.

And she knows of many with only one limb and the wonders they do daily. But this still doesn't help with the frustration--trying to mold the most perfect loaves one-handed--loaves she originally planned to give as gifts. The loaves, they are ugly, bumpy, uneven, small and full of unseen air holes.... How can someone share such a gift of imperfection of not enough?

Throughout God's Holy Word are stories--parables--Jesus' teachings--and the longer we linger in His Word--His stories--the more awestruck we become. And one of the beauties of these stories is, we don't always see the backstory--only a glimpse--but that glimpse is enough and in the same time we are left to wonder--and yearn for more. And God in His grace gives us this sense of imagining--of wonderment--

The boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish. An author once called his lunch, "the poor-boy's lunch". Which opens up this wondering of questions....


Was he poor?


A street boy? Did someone in the marketplace give him the loaves and fishes?


Was he alone in the crowd following Jesus? Or was he with his father, mother, his family?


Or maybe his mother was home with his brothers and sisters--his father off to work in his shop or tend to the cattle and sheep. And his mother sent him to hear the teachings of Jesus to come back and tell his family all he had seen and heard.

His mother--with a baby on her hip--she kneads the dough as best she can in the early morning of candlelight and lays the small loaves gently inside the hearth stove--heated by stones--kindling and fire.


And as the morning sun arises--she hands her oldest their only basket and inside wrapped are five tiny loaves of bread and two smoked fish. She kisses him on his forehead while still holding her youngest baby girl. 'Son, go and listen carefully to Jesus' teachings. Listen with all your heart. And be careful--make sure you start back home long before dark. Your father and I will be waiting to hear everything. The stories of the miracles--Jesus' teaching and His Words--and make sure you eat your lunch. It's not much, but it's all we have. And don't forget to bring back the basket!'


And his mother rocking the baby on the front porch--she sees her eldest in the distance--coming home. And a tear comes--it wasn't to long ago he was a baby himself. He's running toward her with the biggest of baskets dangling by his side. He waves and begins to run even harder.


"Son, that's not our basket. Where in the world did you get such a big basket?"


He looks up at her and catches his breath and says, "Mama, have I got a story to share with you and father! Look inside! These are leftovers sent to us by Jesus. I met Him today and He really loved your bread!"


Her loaves were no work of art--but what if she had known? What if the bread maker would have known her tiny loaves of bread would be held by the King--what if she had known the Bread of Life himself would have broken the imperfect loaves made by her hands--held them high to Heaven--for His Father's blessing and then shared among more than five thousand people. What if she had known?


If she had known, her son may not have made it to the gathering because his mother, the bread maker would have been frantically rushing around, worrying about her five loaves of bread--not good enough--not large enough--not round enough--not pretty enough--just simply not enough.


Inside of each of us are these small gifts--God-given gifts and be certain there will be days when doubts and fears will come. Criticism will be voiced--from others and sadly, within ourselves. These gifts were never meant to be given in perfection, impress others by their size of quantity--but given in humble service to Him.


So no matter how small or insignificant or imperfect we believe our gifts to be--give them. Give them anyway. And then, let God multiply the giving. As only He can.





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