At Community Development for All People, we operate through the understanding of the divine economy of God’s abundance. We not only believe that God will bless and provide for the work we do, we embody this theology in our practices and operations. However, there are times when my faith in this mindset is tested.
Multiple news reports have shared how weather conditions (from droughts in California to floods in Texas) have reduced food supply. As a result of this reduced supply, this week our Fresh Market received half of our normal amount of produce. Each week, we average 10,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables that we share with our community. This week, we received just over 5,000 pounds. Our reduction in food was not matched by a reduction in participants. In fact, with children out of school for the summer, families are in greater need of food.
Despite my tendency to focus on the lack of what we have, God abundantly provided.
I am currently participating in a 90-day Bible reading with my friends back at Central United Methodist Church in Albuquerque. Recently, we read through the book of Exodus and heard again the story of God’s provision of manna. Each day, God provided just enough food for the people of Israel. They could not collect more than what they needed, each day they received just enough. (See Exodus 16)
In the same way, when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he gave them the words we know today as the Lord’s Prayer. Although the words of this prayer easily fall off our lips, the things we ask for in this prayer might not be what we really want. In this prayer, Jesus gives us the example of asking God to “give us today our daily bread.” These countercultural words push against how we live our lives. While we pray to receive just enough bread for today, our homes include pantries full of food. Instead of relying on God to provide what we need for today, we stockpile to ensure backup for tomorrow. We rely on our personal abundance over God’s divine provision.
These last two days in the Fresh Market, we received “our daily bread”. Each family received 20 to 30 pounds of onions, apples, salad, watermelons, guacamole, and corn. People did not walk away as weighted as normal. Not as many people needed help carrying food to their car. Nonetheless, people received a gift of grace that provided for themselves and their families. In fact, by carefully managing what God (through Mid-Ohio Foodbank) provided, the last participants received just as much as the first.
Manna fell from heaven and God’s people were satisfied once again.