When Oliver Twist Asks for Manna
- Tuesday, September 28, 2010
How much more is this true of my Heavenly Father? Of course, the absurdity of thinking I can hide my real desires from the Omniscient is obvious. I ask for my daily bread not because He does not know I need it, but because He has chosen to cooperate with me in the management of my life. God could just run everything, but He allows me to ask and to activate some of His blessings.
He wants to make slavish men into sons and daughters.
Another form of this witchcraft is pretending to want or expect less than the ideal. "We are having a picnic," we say, "so I am sure that it will rain." Why do this? My friends have told me they do it, because then they are never disappointed. This is not good policy. First, lying to oneself about one's desires seems mentally unhealthy. Second, one is probably disappointed in any case, but loses out on the right of every Job to complain about life's weather. Finally, being Eeyore all the time is worse than being a disappointed Tigger some of the time.
Today manna represents God's good provision, our daily bread. We don't need "more," but we do need enough. The answer to gluttony is not parsimony, but sufficiency. God wants me to learn what enough is. Like the Victorian granddame, I must turn down the extra piece of cake with a quiet, "That was sufficient," while remembering that first she took cake she wanted and was offered.
My own talents at manna collection are pretty poor, so I am glad God will cover my needs when my inadequacy might threaten my family. Our family has received blessings from others and been used by God to bless others when they were unable to collect enough. When we had more, instead of wormy manna collectors, we get to be manna gift givers!
It is a miraculous universe run on love after all. So God, please Sir, can I have more wisdom, mercy, love, and holiness?
This article published September 29, 2010.
John Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Professor of Philosophy at Biola University. In 1996 he received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester. John Mark Reynolds can be found blogging regularly at Scriptorium Daily.
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