Friday, October 21, 2011

Small Stuff can be Bread for the Soul -- Peter A. Black

“Life is full of surprises!” Hmm, we’ve heard that before. Sometimes amidst what some may feel to be the monotonous grind of routine, our attention is seized by a simple little happenstance that adds a splash of colour and zest to life, and we think, Wow! Life is full of surprises. Who woulda’ thunk?

Recently my Beloved and I attended a Sunday evening church service in a neighbouring town. We had arranged to take friends – two senior ladies, who attend there – out for coffee and refreshments after the service.

Shortly before the service concluded the pastor held up a large loaf of plaited bread covered in a satin cloth. He explained that in the morning communion service the pastoral staff and other members of the congregation had gathered at the altar, placed their hands on that loaf (it was inside a plastic sheath), and blessed it, praying that whoever would receive it will have God’s provision for all their needs and His blessing on their lives. At that time they had no idea who would be the recipients.

“Tonight we welcome Pastor Peter and May Black. Peter retired last year, and I want them to have the gift of this loaf to honour them for their decades of faithful pastoral service,” said the pastor. “Come on up and we’ll pray God’s blessing on you.”

Surprise! Who woulda’ thunk, eh? There we were, having a quiet evening in the pew of a church we hadn’t visited for over a year. The pastor wasn’t even aware we had arranged to be present, and had not determined beforehand who would be given the gift of the blessed bread. But then we showed up, and at some point during the service he knew.

Dozens of people gathered around us and prayer was offered up in our behalf. It was very touching. Very special.

In my response I expressed our surprise and thanked them for this expression of generosity and love, that we received this loaf in the spirit in which it was given, and said we would also pray God’s blessing on those with whom we would share it.

That incident broke in on us as something special, deeply spiritual, and significant in the midst of the ordinary. Mere coincidence? I don’t think so. I consider that it was orchestrated by our Heavenly Father for His own good reasons.

Why? I can't pretend to know, but my Beloved and I prayed that morning for God’s guidance for the day, and that he would make us to be a blessing to others, including the senior friends we had planned to meet. Also, their pastor had prayed for guidance in selecting recipients for the planned token gift of blessed bread.

I had been brought that very morning to consider how God desires to work His grace in the small things through our prayers in small matters, as well as in life’s big issues. Later, during the morning service in our home church, our pastor’s message reinforced it when he discussed the feeding of thousands after Jesus blessed and administered the five loaves and two small fish.

This was bread – food – for my soul. The events of that evening service and our experience as visitors there capped off that day’s trilogy of ‘small things,’ with a strong sense of assurance and encouragement.

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).”

God’s work in the small stuff can be as the Bread of Life to our souls.


© Peter A. Black.
Black is the weekly inspirational columnist at The Watford Guide-Advocate and the author of “Parables from the Pond” (Word Alive Press; ISBN 1897373-21-X).


CBM said...

Great blog, content and article.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks, Peter for this wonderful example of God's activity in our lives in the small ways that He reminds us of our value in His sight. Well written and a real encouragement.

Peter Black said...

Thank you CBM and Eleanor, for your kind comments.
My wife and I have arrived home from visiting with our eldest son and family this weekend, and the church that he pastors. Seven people followed the Lord through the waters of baptism this morning, and we renewed fellowship with old friends.
It just seemed that good and wholesome things encouraged us throughout the weekend -- even to the beautiful, stunning sunset I witnessed through the rear-view mirror on our safe journey home!

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