By Rev. Kate Howard
One morning when I visited my grandpa, I woke up and came out to make coffee. I was surprised to find the counter covered with familiar supplies: flour, sugar, yeast, and potato flakes.
This was a baking day. Grandpa was making bread.
Now, when Grandpa made bread, he did it the same way he had always done it. He did it the way his mom did it, and he learned by watching. It’s very simple, there’s no recipe. He just put the ingredients together until it’s the right consistency, and then he put the dough in the pans and lets it rise, and then he baked the bread until it was a lovely cream color, and then he brushed egg on the top, and then he put the bread back in the oven until it was golden brown.
It’s very simple and I can’t do it.
And it’s frustrating because I learned so much from Grandpa.
I learned by watching how to tinker. I learned by watching how to fix cars. I learned by watching how to garden. But I never learned how to bake.
My grandpa said, “It’s not that hard, I can teach you how.”
As he turned out five perfect loaves of bread on the counter, I realized that it wasn’t true that I couldn’t bake.
Those five loaves on the counter made me think of the story of the loaves and fishes.
While I watched my grandfather bake…I learned something.
It’s not that I can’t bake. It’s that I’m afraid to bake. I’m afraid to make a mistake. I’m afraid I won’t do as good a job as my grandfather. I’m afraid I might burn myself, or set the kitchen on fire…again. And I can be so brave and strong and creative in all these other aspects of my life…but when I try to bake, I just freeze up.
And so, some time before Easter, I’m going to get out the flour and yeast and oil, and I’m going to be brave. I’m going to mix up some dough. Maybe I won’t follow a recipe…maybe I’ll just close my eyes and remember what I’ve learned. I can bake…I just haven’t had much faith in myself.
And while I’m waiting for the dough to rise, I’m going to pray for you and give God thanks for your talents and treasures. Because, together, we will exceed what we thought possible in this time.
The story of the loaves and fishes is an example of how we are called to live — to see to the needs of everyone by sharing the available physical and spiritual resources in a way that exceeds what we thought was possible.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the talents and treasures that you give to me. I am grateful for the gifts I can share and the gifts others are sharing with me at this time. Open my heart to receive and share your gifts today. Amen.
When did you see someone sharing their gifts today?
Comment below or use a journal to record how God is with you each day of this journey.