Daily Bread

When Jesus was tempted to use his spiritual power to make bread out of stones after his forty days' fast in the wilderness, he replied to the tempter, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." By this he certainly did not mean that mankind under ordinary circumstances should not make use of material food, nor did he imply that there were two kinds of bread, the one which was produced from the earth, and the other which came down from heaven. What he obviously did mean was that the life sustaining properties popularly and mistakenly attributed to material food were really in Mind, and that in partaking of the fruits of the earth, mankind should remember that God is the substance and giver of all good things, whether temporal or eternal. The fact that Jesus could multiply loaves and fishes or turn water into wine when occasion demanded was abundantly demonstrated. This was done, however, not for himself, nor for the purpose of satisfying the material appetites of others; it was done for the same reason as were all of his earthly acts, namely, to show forth God's power in such a way as to teach mankind to love and trust our heavenly Father more in all the affairs of life.

He knew full well that matter has no intrinsic value, but he also knew that materialists must be met on their own plane of belief in order to advance them to a better and higher level of thinking and living. However, notwithstanding every effort on Jesus' part to turn the thought of his followers from the material to the spiritual import of his work, all but a few seem to have persistently emphasized the former and overlooked the latter. As an instance of this, we find the people, on the day after the feeding of the five thousand, still following Jesus; but he, discerning their motive, exclaimed, "Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." The Jews, desiring to justify themselves, demanded of Jesus a sign similar to that which Moses had given to their forefathers when he fed them with manna in the wilderness. Jesus, however, replied: "Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." This true bread, Jesus showed plainly, was the Christ, Truth, or spiritual substance, but not the manna which the Israelites had gathered in the wilderness. The fact that the Israelites ate the manna as so much material food, without realizing its significance as visible evidence of divine supply, resulted, as Jesus so clearly pointed out to the Jews, in the death of their fathers.

Paul, also, in his second epistle to the Corinthians, distinguishes between the letter and the spirit of the Mosaic dispensation, and shows how the former had failed to rend the "vail" of materialism because of what he terms "the ministration of death," declaring that "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." To the student of Christian Science it is evident that constant watchfulness is needed in order to guard against the temptation to turn stones into bread, and thus to employ Spirit for the purpose of preserving matter. When one considers the overwhelming weight of desire for material things put into the human scale, and the absence of spiritual realization in the opposite scale, it is of the greatest importance that the student should realize that divine healing power can be demonstrated only in the degree that one is found willing to place the demands of Principle before all merely material advantages. This point evidently appeared so important to Mrs. Eddy that in the chapter on "Christian Science Practice," on page 410 of Science and Health, she emphasized it in the opening paragraph, under the heading "Mental Treatment Illustrated." She there says: "Selfishness does not appear in the practice of Truth or Christian Science. If mental practice is abused or is used in any way except to promote right thinking and doing, the power to heal mentally will diminish, until the practitioner's healing ability is wholly lost."

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May 18, 1918

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