Breaking of Bread

Love, peace and grace, conversation and fellowship around the table at Thanksgiving, is an amazing gift. We are filled, not only with an abundance of food; but our hearts overflow with genuine communion. Such a meal is truly one for which we can be thankful.

However, even when the Thanksgiving table is sparse, when loved ones are missing or when tension speaks louder than peace, we can still be thankful. Why? Because when we offer thanks, miracles can happen.

Consider these examples from Scripture:

“[Jesus] told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand were present.” Mark 8:6-9a NIV

Jesus took little, gave thanks and satisfied many.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28 NIV

Jesus took bread and wine, gave thanks and signified our salvation.

“When he was at the table with them, [Jesus] took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to [the travelers who had walked with him on the road to Emmaus]. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” Luke 24:30-32 NIV

Jesus took the daily portion, gave thanks and opened hearts.

Of course, we don’t encounter miracles each time we give thanks. But since God tells us over and over to be thankful, we can be sure that the giving of thanks matters. Expressing gratitude can bring us to a point of being satisfied. It can keep us mindful of our salvation. And in giving thanks our hearts can stay open to Him.

These concepts became real to me several years ago when our son, who suffers with bipolar disorder, was living “on the road” and had not been in contact in many, many months. When the Thanksgiving season rolled around, the last thing on my mind was gratitude. Instead there was mostly fear confusion and disappointment. But as the rest of the family gathered for the gut-filling meal and we shared what we were thankful for, one person said, “I’m thankful that God is with Douglas, wherever he is.” The words hit me like a thunderbolt, and turned my anxious prayers into confident praises. 

My pastor says, “Every time we pray, something happens; and sometimes when we pray, everything happens.” Perhaps this is true not only of prayer, but of giving thanks as well.

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