I had a smashing time the other day. First the sugar canister, (which matches the tea and coffee canisters) jumped out of the cupboard, and smashed, sending sugar (yes, sugar again) all over the kitchen. Then I dropped a glass. More sweeping. Then something else fell out of the cupboard onto a mug and broke it. It was the mug that bothered me the most. Why? Because it was given me as a gift, and reminded me of the giver. Looking around, most of the ‘precious’ things in my house are not valuable, but reminders of people.
Remembering. That’s why people often take home souvenirs of special holidays or events. You look at it, and think back. Feels good. And that was why Moses and Aaron obeyed God and put some manna sealed in a jar to keep as a souvenir of how God had provided for the Israelites throughout the years in the desert. Lest they forgot. (Exodus 16:31-36)
Interesting too where it was to be kept – in front of the ‘Testimony’ or the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, in the Ark when it was built. A reminder that God’s provision was long-lasting and utterly dependable; that God was trustworthy. And that was why his commandments were worth following. How could he put before them such stringent laws? Only because he was trustworthy.
But what those laws would do, was demonstrate that the people were not perfect, could not entirely live out those laws, would be bound to break them, and be found wanting. The jar of manna pointed forward to one day when ‘The Bread of Life’ himself would come, and would provide a way for the people to be forgiven when they inevitably broke the laws. The God who had faithfully provided for their life through the desert years, would provide a way to eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)
What if every time I ate bread, it reminded me of Jesus, and of all he did for me so that I might live? What if it reminded me of the faithfulness of God in providing for the needs of a hungry nation in transit? What if it reminded me that God is able to meet all my needs, both material and spiritual?
If the stuff around me is a reminder of the people who gave it me, then let bread jog my memory of all that God has given and done for me. Let’s eat and be thankful.