“But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ And he answered, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:25-28 ESV)
I am the main bread slicer in our house. Having returned from the shopping trip up the road with an uncut loaf, I thought a bit of pro-active slicing would be in order, to save the exaggerated wedges that are produced by some of the family. As a result I sliced up two-thirds of the loaf to have enough for the day’s quota of sandwiches, toast etc. Slices that would easily fit in the toaster, to save it from hunks of bread rammed into it that bulge out of the top.
With no-one else about it fell to me to clear up the resultant breadcrumbs. Most household chores are cyclical. Not that I minded, but the inevitability of here we go again, again, and the predisposition of someone faced with another of the tiny, but never-ending, household tasks to clean up like the kitchen, I swept the wholemeal beads of bread off the work surface and into my hand.
I looked at the collection of soft new bread on the work surface and thought: Waste not, want not; so I scooped up some of the fresh breadcrumbs and ate them. As I surveyed the worktop, into my head dropped the story of this gentile Syro-phoenician woman with Jesus in the verses above.
In her discourse with Jesus she was desperate but determined. She knew in her heart that He was special. According to the current chatter, this Jesus was able to bring healing to her little girl. By an act of faith, honour and wisdom her request was heard by Him and answered.
It made me wonder what we might miss from God; just because we let God’s gifts for us drop to the floor, doing the same routines with God unbidden into them, crumbs left ungathered?
All those beads of God’s wisdom, power and influence spread around waiting for us gather them up, to receive and depend on. To be applied as a saving grace, or a promise of hope for us to take into the world to today.
So where is God today, when we are doing the ordinary and repetitive tasks of the day?
Right with us, as He is always, waiting to be asked, but what gifts have we let fall to the floor, maybe because we have not had the thought to ask and receive?
“so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:5-8 ESV)
PRAYER: LORD, we know that You are with us always, even in the humdrum chores of life. Please open our eyes and remind us who it is we are serving so that our eyes are set on You and not on the floor. May we know the joy of the Lord as we carry out our tasks today, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Roderick Henry Marshall’s Christian Reflections