Toast again (only 1 piece this morning) and coffee. The din of traffic is getting noticeably quieter, as is the foot traffic in our local shopping centre. The empty shelves and television news only serve to reinforce that people are struggling to cope and are hoarding like doomsday preppers. “All is vanity” (Choose your favourite text from Ecclesiastes).
As I sat quietly contemplating human folly and pondering the current paucity of human activity, my peace was shattered by a commotion made by a flock of birds. Doves, lorikeets, magpies, honeyeaters, and all manner of feathered friends are the local congregants of the creeks, trees, clotheslines, and television antennas where I reside. The lorikeets diverted my attention this morning.
On reflection, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Matthew 6, just after we ask God to, “Give us this day our daily bread” . Daily bread. Not fortnightly, monthly, or yearly bread; daily bread. (Matthew 6:25-34) follows:
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear, [or wipe your bottom with]. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear’ [or ‘What will we wobw’]? 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
There is little wonder that St Francis preached to the birds; they provide much food for thought and a great example of faith.
Back to “our daily bread”. One of the most hilarious and deliberate misquotes of Scripture, comes from a comedy skit I watched on television as a young, impressionable boy in the ‘70s. 1970s before the clowns out there start up the Ark references! The ocker Aussie comedian, Paul Hogan, utilised a well-known quote from Scripture, and added a comical twist to great effect – “Man cannot live on bread alone, … it must have vegemite on it.” I laughed so much I nearly wet myself [It’s okay. Toilet paper wasn’t scarce in those days]. I still have a quiet chuckle to myself every time I’m reminded of it. Like now! He played on Jesus’ first retort to the tempter in the wilderness, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).
What great comfort! Every word that comes from the mouth of God is peace and goodwill to his creation redeemed by his Son, the Beloved. Saints, the way to endure, nay, prosper in these days of transformation, is to cling to the feet of Jesus and enjoy the ride. Consider the birds of the air, delight in their carefree countenance, listen to their joyful squawks of thanksgiving, and listen to every word that comes from the mouth of God, not the, “Horror movie, it’s the 6.30 news” (Skyhooks [another 70s reference]).
By absorbing God’s word, your joy will be fulfilled (John 3:29) as Jesus increases, and our worries decrease (John 3:30). Be bold, Saints. Every day is the Day of the Lord, and we are his beloved children.
Oh, by the way, I received a “pinch and a punch for the first day of the month” on Wednesday. Some traditions are just priceless. Just like vegemite [Sorry, I couldn’t resist].
Friday morning 3rd April 2020.
Pastor Greg Bensted
Pastor is here, most weekday mornings from 9:00am