You’ve heard it said that “man shall not live on bread alone.”

That’s absolutely correct. He also needs tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.

As in pizza.

I’m pretty sure that I could live on pizza alone, and I’m willing to give it a try. Is there someone out there who wouldn’t mind providing me with a daily supply of freshly baked pizza?

(I’m just kidding, of course. Sort of.)

Joking aside, we’re missing something crucial here, and that’s the rest of the verse I quoted above:

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Jesus in Matthew 4:4, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3)

Jesus seems to be telling us that the revealed word of God is every bit as important as the food we nourish our bodies with.

But do we really treat the word of God as being as essential to us as the food we eat each day?

Do we give Scripture as much thought as what we plan to cook for dinner?

Is reading the Bible more important than our mealtimes, or is it something we cram into our schedules if we happen to have the time?

I wonder what would happen if someone sneaked into our homes and stole the food from our fridges and cupboards. How long would it take before we noticed? Probably not more than a few hours. If we were regular snackers, it might take even less time before we detected something was amiss.

But if someone secretly pilfered your Bible, how long would it take before you realized it was gone?

Some of us might notice right away that our most prized possession wasn’t in its usual place where we access it daily. For others, it might take until the following Sunday when we reached for our Bible and found it wasn’t there.

Sadly, the Bibles of some Christians sit unused and forgotten on shelves, gathering dust. It might not register with them for months or years that their Bible was missing.

How differently members of the persecuted Church have treated their Bibles, if indeed they were lucky enough to even have one.

Image by Hai Maus on Pixy, Public Domain

During the Cold War, the regimes in Communist countries such as Albania conducted brutal and long-running campaigns aimed at eliminating religion from society. Persecution against Christians was so harsh that churches were forcibly converted into museums of atheism. Clergy members were arrested and sent to labour camps.

Until as late as 1979, buying a Bible in Albania was an outright crime. And yet believers went to great lengths to secure even a small portion of the Scriptures, despite the risk of persecution or imprisonment if it were found in their homes.

Believers in the underground church would divvy up the rare Bible that they managed to obtain from smugglers; each family got one page, which was carefully hidden from the authorities. They revered and treasured that page, grateful to have even a tiny sliver of God’s word.

Still today in many countries, believers risk imprisonment for even owning a Bible (visit OpenDoors to learn more about the Persecuted Church). But the Scriptures are more important to them than the food they eat: they’re willing to put their freedom on the line to feast on God’s word.

What about us? Do we value the Bible that much? Is it so crucial to our lives that we can’t do without it, like we can’t do without food?

Is God’s word truly food for thought for us, or merely an afterthought?

© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “What Can’t You Live Without?

  1. Have you read “The Heavenly Man” by Brother Yu, Lori? After distributing the Bible pages among the members of the underground church, they’d memorise it (some would memorise a whole book/gospel/epistle). That inspires me to do the same (ie, memorise by chapter/book)!

    ” ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming….” Blessings! x


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