The Currency of Bread Buying

“Lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’  He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,  ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.  Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.” John 6:5-13

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live.” Isaiah 55:1-3a

The commands appear to make no sense: how can we buy bread without money? And more startling still, how do we procure what satisfies with no expenditure ourselves? Yet the very dichotomies the Scriptures put forth are purposeful: Come, listen diligently, delight yourselves, incline your ear; to test him. The thoughts and ways of our Lord are drastically different and higher than ours, and we would do well to prescribe to His over our own. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is a mysterious currency of faith our Lord uses in trading with His people. Doing business with the Heavenly Regent involves dealing on His terms, and the outcomes are always beneficial to our spiritual growth by affording deeper understanding of Him and ourselves.

When Jesus asks something of us that makes no human sense, musses with our comfort, or tests our patience, how do we react? Do we immediately respond, ‘No way! I could never afford, or do, or say, or be capable of, or comfortable with, that!’? Or would we harken to His deeper meanings between the lines? Would we in faith offer meager loaves and fish to His majestic wonder-working hands, and expect great things?

Think only of ourselves, and limit both our grasp of God’s vastness and our effectiveness in His kingdom work. Tackle His tests of faith with holy urgency and eagerness to be used for significant transactions, and He’ll bring divine return on that investment. He builds faith through personal exercise and others’ examples. Whoever trades in and feeds on His bread lives forever, and abundantly, hungering no more. (John 10:10b; Hebrews 11:1-12:3,10; Revelation 7:15-17)

Father, in all You ask of me, may I spend increasing faith on what lasts and honors You most.

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