(Our daughter and family were missionaries to Cambodia. My hubby and I lived there half of the year, giving help to them as we are able. In spring 2019 my missionary son-in-law was diagnosed with stage four cancer and went to heaven spring 2020. Our trips to Cambodia are on hold for now.)
My hubby and I spend time every morning in our Cambodian town walking on the riverside across the street from our house, for exercise and prayer. The daily hustle for food and shelter play out before us as we make our way down the street. The Holy Spirit teaches us a spiritual lesson while we walk by life being lived along the river.
In His famous prayer, Jesus tells us to,”Give us this day our daily bread,” and we recite it solemnly with no real idea what it might really mean to work every single day for just enough money to be able to stop by the open air market on the way home, and then to start all over the next day because what you had the day before is in the stomach of your children.
On our walk, we watch the local iceman stop by the same roadside shop everyday and saw off a hunk of ice for the drink shop lady’s cooler because she does not have a refrigerator. Pennies change hands and off he goes to his next customer. Her drinks also sell for pennies. They are both providers…hard workers. There are no sick days for these people, no steady income, no government assistance.
They need daily bread.
As we make the loop around the end of the riverside, we notice several women standing knee deep in the river washing the daily catch of shrimp. They are not the ones who caught the shrimp, their job is to clean it…for pennies. Soon a man on a motorcycle arrives to stack three huge baskets of clean shrimp on the back of his moto and take the fresh shrimp to the town market for sale…for pennies. We will see this same routine repeat again the next day. There are no weekends off if they want to eat.
They need daily bread.
And then there are the custodians of the riverside, sweeping and picking up trash every day. One of their jobs is to scrape out the weeds that grow between the bricks… by hand. Their toddlers play nearby. There is no day care for those who work for pennies.
They need daily bread. If they don’t eat they will get sick and die.
Maybe it’s because we in first world countries lack desperation for literal daily bread that we might not quite get the spiritual message about bread Jesus conveyed when quoting part of Deuteronomy 8:3 during His temptation. “…man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Shouldn’t we hunger for His words when the belly of our soul is empty? Shouldn’t we pursue it as if famished, never resting until full? Shouldn’t we feed it to our spiritually starving children? Won’t they just get sick and die without it?
Father, give us zeal in pursuing daily spiritual bread as steadily as these Cambodian people pursue real bread. Holy Spirit, remind us of the words of Jesus in John 6:25, “…I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again…” Nourish our souls Lord Jesus.
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