A few weeks ago, at our discipleship conference with restricted church leaders, we heard an interesting story about sharing your bread that illustrates the simple power of doing the word.
This story came from the pastor of a church of a couple hundred people–a pastor who also happens to be a seminary student. He organized a similar training for us to lead last year, but he wasn’t able to attend many of the sessions himself and as a result he became confused as to exactly what we were teaching. But one session that he did get to attend was our teaching on sharing your bread.
He understood that when he went sharing his bread he wasn’t simply handing out food, but rather eating together with those with whom he was sharing. He also understood that his food was a gift from God (James 1:17), and that eating was intended by God to be just as much worship as singing or praying. And he understood that Jesus never invited others to a synagogue service as a method of evangelism but instead feasted with others – Pharisees, prostitutes, tax collectors and friends.
This student pastor, not completely understanding the big picture of why he was doing what he was doing, decided to do the little he did understand – share his bread. He was scheduled to go on a long bus trip across the country, so he packed extra food to share with others on the bus.
At lunchtime during the first day of the bus trip, he pulled out his food and offered it to everyone sitting around him. Not surprisingly, everyone refused, but he still ate because he was hungry.
At lunchtime during the second day of the bus trip, he again pulled out his food and offered it to everyone sitting around him. This time everyone accepted his gracious offer. They had refused his food on the first day because they didn’t know him and they didn’t know if his food was safe. But when they saw him eating his own food, they knew that he only offered them something that he was willing to eat himself.
This opened the door for him to share his faith with those seated around him, and it gave him an open door (in this closed country!) to disciple a young man that he was sitting nearby. He has been faithful to cultivate this relationship for the past year.
I was impressed by the fact that this pastor didn’t understand everything that we were teaching, and not only did he not completely understand, he was confused! And yet he was faithful to “do the word” with what he did understand. He shared his bread in a simple yet faithful manner, and the fruit of this is a discipleship relationship that has continued for over a year.