Manna. Bread from heaven.
This is what God gives the hungry Israelites in the wilderness. It is bread from heaven. It is life.
Yes, it’s life.
But only if it’s treated properly.
There are a couple of things you can do with Manna: (1) You can eat what you’ve gathered that day. Or, (2) you can put it in a jar to remember the times when God was faithful in the past.
There’s one thing you can never, ever do with manna: you can’t keep it around. You can’t gather on Monday, hoard what you’ve gathered, and eat off it for the rest of the week. Keep leftovers, and you’ll be looking at maggots in the morning.
But it is only good for the day on which it is given. To honor the reality of manna given by God is not to try to keep living off of what God gave the day before, but to be stirred to confidence that God will act, again, today.
Manna isn’t just about manna. We face the same challenge continually as people who would walk in faithfulness to God.
God does something amazing–in our lives, in our church community, in church history–and the easiest thing in the world for us to do is to keep going back to this old thing in hopes of continuing to draw life and nourishment from it.
Maggots have protein, so yesterday’s manna can sustain us for a long time, but it’s not the divine provision. The divine provision is only found when we faithfully take what is given for the day and move into the next day with humble, faithful expectation that God will provide for us again.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
We will go out looking for manna. We trust you will provide again tomorrow as you did yesterday.
Pete Rollins, speaking at an event recently, made this claim:
The greatest obstacle to our next experience of God is our last great experience of God.
If we find ourselves stuck looking back at the manna in the wilderness, we’ll never see when the true bread comes down from heaven in the person of Christ. If we find ourselves looking back to the bread in the wilderness, we’ll miss the bread of life given to us each week on the communion table.
How do we honor yesterday? Not by trying to live today on yesterday’s gifts, but by being stirred to faith that the God who so acted then will so act today as well.