The Old Woman and the Baker
Every day for as long as she could remember the old woman would call her Baker and ask for a delivery of her daily bread. The Baker was kind and generous and made delicious bread. Every day the Baker would deliver the bread and every day the woman would go outside to find an almost empty basket with only a few crumbs left. She would call the Baker and ask him to increase the order because she so desperately needed more bread. Some called this bread “patience”, other called it “kindness”, some insisted on ordering “joy” but what this woman desired was called “grace.” She would call again and again asking every day for more grace. She felt as though the Baker was at times cruel for he did not fill the order to her need. One day the Baker responded to her plea for more with the words, “My grace is sufficient for you.” One day he even commented that something was robbing her of her portion. She scoffed at the idea, as she could see no thief in sight. Day by day she went on living off of the scraps, the crumbs, barely enough for herself let alone anyone else. This went on and on until one day she became very aware of her thief. Selfishness; he stood there eating her grace, sometimes he went by the name “offenses” and she found that the more she fed her offenses the less grace she had. She called the Baker and asked if perhaps he could just make more grace because she had no intention of letting her offenses go. The Baker quickly remarked “It will never matter how much grace I give you because offense will always consume it. If you want to feast upon my grace and the many other gifts I have for you, you must get rid of your offenses.”
I realize how heavy this story is, trust me I understand the weight of it for it was a very direct and difficult word for me to hear this week. I have been asking God for a greater portion of grace and then foolishly thought it was his fault for not delivering on it. I have been carrying a great deal of baggage over the idea that I shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced when serving God. In other words if God required any amount of sacrifice to serve Him or others I just couldn’t find it in me. I actually had told my husband that I wasn’t going to go to a special event that the church was having because it was inconvenient. That morning at church as I was taking communion God spoke to my heart and said, “It’s a good thing Jesus didn’t care about being inconvenienced by loving others, because the cross was very inconvenient.” I can count on my hand how many times I have felt the wind knocked out of me by the convicting word of God, and this particular word was not only that but also just what I needed to snap out of my selfishness.
Later that day he gave me the story of the Woman and the Baker. He told me that my thief was not only offenses and selfishness but also the idea that serving and loving God should be convenient or else it is just optional. I very quickly discerned that my only option was to kick the thieves out and allow whatever portion God had for me, to fill me. I have a new prayer now, and that prayer is that God would open my eyes, that I would be aware of the thieves. God’s gifts are already available, it is in those moments we find them missing that most likely a thief is in our midst. I have named a few of mine but a few other tricksters are: greed, jealousy, envy, doubt, fear, vanity, unforgiveness, laziness, worry, and lust. Who are we feeding by allowing these drifters in our hearts? Whatever portion of the beautiful fruit of the Spirit that is lacking in us, is being given by God, and a prayer for more will only be consumed by thieves as long as we chose to allow them to stay.
Dearest Father, thank you for our daily bread. Than you for the beautiful fruit of your Spirit. Lord make us aware of our thieves, and help us to eradicate them in the name of Jesus. We want to be full of you and to drink from that living water that will allow us never to thirst again. Lord I lay down my selfishness, I lay down my rights and I ask you to give me knew sight to see your will and the power in the Spirit to follow it. Amen