Today’s reading is Genesis 28:1-22.
This past Friday we were eating spaghetti and our 4-year-old Hudson was complaining he wanted more garlic bread while we continued to tell him he could not have more until he finished his spaghetti he was not eating. As he carried on and continued to beg, in typical ‘bad dad joke’ fashion, I leaned over and said, “Hudson, man cannot live on bread alone.” This is of course in reference to Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:4 and also in the Old Testament Deuteronomy 8:3.
From our reading today we see God come to Jacob in a dream and give him the land He had promised his grandfather Abraham and also confirm that he would have many offspring spread upon the Earth to again fulfill his original promise to Abraham. In addition, God tells Jacob he will be with him wherever he goes (Genesis 28:15). In response, Jacob says he’s on holy ground where the Lord is which he did not know (Genesis 28:16). Finally, he says in Genesis 28:18-22 that since the Lord is with him and had provided food and clothing, he will build a house of the Lord here and give 1/10 of everything back to God.
I find it very interesting that Jacob’s thanksgiving is not really focused on the ground he received or the many offspring, but instead the most basic needs of food and clothing. When I went on a mission trip to New York City a few years ago, many of the homeless people we approached to witness actually witnessed to us by giving thanks and saying God had given them all they really need. I thought they had nothing, but they were satisfied having God. Instead of focusing on what they didn’t have, they were focused on the one thing they really need which they had…Him.
Embarrassingly, many of my thoughts lately have been focused on what more I want, rather than what I already have. It has been said that one cannot feel stress and anxiety at the same time they are in gratitude. I need to be even more thankful for what I already have. And most importantly I must focus on the fact that I cannot survive on “bread alone.” I always have all I really need which is the promise He’ll be with me wherever I go and His life given on the cross to save me.