Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
Close your eyes and imagine bread or rolls from your favorite restaurant…A server carries in a basket of piping hot bread, with the aroma trailing behind, and places it on the table. The fragrance brings smiles as the basket is passed and each person pulls out a roll or a slice of warm bread.
Bread is part of what beckons you to return, whether it’s cheesy hot biscuits, fluffy yeast rolls, Mediterranean flatbread, specialty breadsticks, or local fare.
Hospitality focuses on the other person. It should be the norm in our homes and our churches, not simply found in restaurants.
There are several reasons restaurants serve bread before the meal. It’s a sign of hospitality and a generous offering that can raise spirits and open wallets to tip more generously. Bread can also make people hungrier, because carbs trigger the production of insulin.
Today’s restaurants are often known for their signature bread or rolls or for breads that reflect the type of cuisine served. It’s part of the experience that welcomes us as we enter the establishment.
Hospitality focuses on the other person. It should be the norm in our homes and our churches, not simply found in restaurants. Biblical hospitality calls us to view each individual as a blessing from God. We’re called to reach out and communicate, to try to make the person feel welcomed. Just as bread in a restaurant encourages people to linger, so our smiles, shared laughter and conversation should encourage people to want to develop stronger connection with us.
Lovin’ From the Lord
“I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servants.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” Genesis 18:5
Baking bread together at meals began long ago, as seen with Abraham entertaining strangers. Fresh bread warms us and retains the aroma of the yeast and flour. In biblical times, people baked bread daily. They made just enough for the day and trusted God for the food needed for the next day.
Jesus used bread in His parables and lessons because people understood the importance of it in their lives. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask for our daily bread, and later He proclaimed that He is the bread we need. He is the Bread of Life. He multiplied bread for a crowd and satisfied their physical hunger. At the Last Supper, Jesus used bread as a sign of the new covenant and gave us the gift of communion. He understood the need for feeding both our bodies and souls. Daily bread should mean more than mere food that we consume. It should also be a reminder of our daily need for Jesus, for His providing for our lives and satisfying our souls with His love and spiritual blessings.
Examining the ingredients of bread, especially wheat and water, brings us to a deeper understanding of the character of Jesus that we’ll continue to explore.
We should mindfully pray the Lord’s Prayer and ask for Jesus to fill our hearts with daily spiritual bread, even as we ask Him to provide our other needs.
Lovin’ from the Oven
I’ve used one main wheat bread recipe for decades. It’s easy, even though the rising means it will take up to four hours from start to finished baked loaves. I can make loaves or change it up for rolls and other types of bread. The kneading is so easy that I can let children knead the bread, and it still comes out great.
Honey of an Egg Whole Wheat Bread
2 packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2 cups milk, scalded and cooled until warm
½ cup honey
½ cup oil
12 cups whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons salt
In a large mixing bowl with a lid, let yeast dissolve in warm water for 10 minutes.
While the yeast dissolves, break the eggs into a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir until blended. Add oil and honey. Add remaining liquids to yeast and water and stir. Add in flour and salt, a cup or two at a time until mixture is stiff (you probably won’t use all the flour at this point; save the rest for kneading).
Grease the lid of the large bowl with shortening and turn dough onto lid. Grease bowl and dump dough back into the bowl. Cover with lid and place in a warm location.
When dough has doubled (time depends on warmth and altitude, 1-2 hours), grease your fist and punch dough down in the center. Let dough rise 10 minutes more.
Dump the dough onto a floured surface and begin kneading (you can divide dough into 4 portions and knead each one separately). Knead for about five minutes until dough is elastic. Place dough into four floured and greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Let bread rise for 10 minutes.
Bake at 350° F for 50 minutes.
Makes 4 loaves.
A Morsel of Bread
Always look to Jesus
the true Staff of Life
Printed with permission from Palm Beach County resident and publisher of The Gift of Bread, from which this recipe was taken.