I had a conversation with one of the men in my church that struck me yesterday. His wife had brought us a few pieces of cake earlier this week, and Ann had returned their piece of Tupperware with a loaf of homemade bread in it.
He told me that he'd been really enjoying the homemade bread, that it was a welcome blessing. He's been savoring each piece. It kind of stopped me for a moment.
You see, I've been eating that homemade bread for a couple of years now. I think in the past 2 years, we've bought maybe 3 loaves of bread at the store, just because we were in a bind. The rest of the time? Ann makes the bread we eat. Not too be snobby or anything, but it's a little more economical, a little healthier, and not unreasonably inconvenient.
Now, though, I see a good loaf of home-baked bread as, well, just bread. It's normal. It's a wonderfully tasty normal, but it's normal.
What was received as a tremendous blessing by one person is just assumed by another.
That put me to thinking about the rest of the blessings we have. Considering whether or not I am being careful to recognize the blessings I am receiving.
Just as a good loaf of bread should not be a neglected blessing, even when it's available everyday, those other blessings should not be underappreciated.
After all, Scripture tells us that "Man does not live by bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Deut. 8:3 or Mt. 4:4). And I have those words. Printed, and nicely leather-bound. Digitally available through both Logos Bible Software and on my Amazon Kindle. I have an app for that on my Blackberry. I have pages printed out.
Do I treat that blessing as mundane? Here is life: the Word of God. There are people that starve for lack of it. Yet here in America we drown in an excess and still we ignore the Word. We sit astounded at the stories of people that are enthusiastic for the Bible, but we don't adjust our life back towards appreciation. Many of us might even remember when we were more passionate about hearing from God through His word than we are now.
What should we do about it?
1. Never be too far separated from people that are passionately grateful for the Word. After a 5 minute conversation, I came home thinking how good a piece of toast sounded (back to the bread story). A few minutes with people that are genuinely hungry for the Word of God will remind us how precious it is. Find those people: they are in your church, they are in your community, they are in this world. Pack up and go if you have to do so to find them.
2. Compare what you've got to what you could have. I saw a blog-post this week about "choosing the freshest bread" or something like that. It was tips to make sure that smashed homogenized plastic-bagged thing you got at Wal-mart was the best you could get. Then it clicked: I don't have that problem. Ann makes 3 loaves at a time. The first is always "super-fresh" the second "quite fresh" and the third is "fresh." There's no shipping or excess handling.
When you find yourself treating the Word of God as too mundane of a blessing, take a look at the "Self-help" section of a bookstore. There's a huge number of titles, and many of them are self-contradictory! There are competing philosophies to consider, various religions, and muddle of confusion. With the Word of God, you have a stable, consistent source to return to, time and time again.
The Word of God is just one of several daily blessings God grants us: life, emotion, communion with Him. Let's not let their consistent presence dull us to the greatness of them!