Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)
TITLE: Our Daily Bread
By Steven Kellen
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The man’s name was Charley. Yesterday he had called his previous place of employment to talk to old friends. The greeting he received was unpleasant. His friends were grumpy and pessimistic. There weren’t many of Charley’s friends left. Lay-offs had increased; some people had filed injury claims and gone off of work, some were filing law suits claiming discrimination, others with families to feed had been pushed out the door with no way to put food on their tables. All the words Charlie heard were expressions of gloom and despair.
Charley’s personal plight felt much the same. He had retired rather than be laid-off and now he wasn’t sure his retirement income would be sufficient. He had been trying to find work, but it seemed his many years of experience didn’t mean much to prospective employers. Charley was told over and over that there were many applicants with high qualifications and he had been screened out of the interview process.
So the old man sat in the corner with despair, frustration and pessimism hovering over him as a looming darkness blocking out all other thoughts. He had been trying to pray but the thoughts spinning in his head kept him from being able to concentrate. Knowing he needed to find a way get focused he turned on his i-pod and clicked on the Bible icon. When the screen popped open he touched the directory button and the rotary locator screen appeared. As Charley sat there looking at the screen he pondered where to go in the Bible for succor and direction. As he stared at the i-pod screen the rotary dial suddenly began to spin on its own. “That’s odd,” he thought. “Normally I have to touch the screen and flipped the rotary locator to get it to move.” The dial stopped on Luke 11:3.
Curious, Charley touched the “go” button and the i-pod screen quickly scrolled to chapter and verse of Luke 11:3 and he read, “Give us each day our daily bread.”* Charley read the line several times and turned off his i-pod. As Charley began to think about that statement he questioned God about why that particular scripture had come up. Then Charley began to think back on a movie he had seen the evening before. A movie titled “The Book of Eli.” It was a strange violent movie about a blind man who had been led by an inner voice to find a braille rendition of the Holy Bible and was told that he was to take the bible to the West. So Eli walked day after day through a post cataclysmic war torn world of violence, destitution and destruction where he was physically attacked and mentally stressed daily and struggled just to survive. Yet, Eli relentlessly kept pushing west, through heat, lack of water, food and rest. Eli was persistently driven and directed by the inner voice toward his destiny. Eli read the braille bible everyday, and doggedly followed the guidance of the inner voice.
Charlie heard in his mind the words, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”** Charley again thought Luke 11:3, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and a deep consuming piece enveloped him. A deeper darkness seemed to settle in around Charley. The spinning images slowly, silently faded, as did the gloom of despair and pessimism. In retrospect Charley saw that he had been hanging onto his achievements, skills, and professional license as though they were his savior. He had so identified with his professional life that Charley had put faith in them, rather than Jesus. Reluctantly, painfully, as though releasing a death grip on his personal security and self worth, Charley let those parts of his identity slip away and evaporate. Letting go caused great fear to loom ominously, yet when they were gone Charley began to experience an overwhelming peace and the warmth of God’s presence that he had not felt in years. Charley then knew that all would be well and that the Lord would indeed provide his daily bread.
* Luke 11.3, NIV
** Matthew 4:4, NIV
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