A fun and juvenile prank—in which I occasionally partook in college—involved sprinkling a little water into an old, half-full bag of bread, tying the bag in a knot, and hiding it somewhere in an unsuspecting neighbor’s dorm room. We called this pre-9/11 prank a “bread bomb.” I recall finding one bread bomb behind my couch at the end of May while moving out. It was disgusting…rotten, pungent, and no longer recognizable as bread. The bread had transformed into something vile and abhorrent.
Leavened bread changes for the worse far quicker than unleavened bread. The yeast doesn’t slow the process by any means. This is what Jesus has to say about yeast: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). And this is what Paul has to say about it: “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
My life, as of late, has been a giant bag of moist bread. My own hypocrisy and sinfulness seem to be transforming a good loaf into something vile and abhorrent. I’m not proud of how I look and feel at this juncture, and if I don’t do something about it, soon my heart will look quite similar to a bread bomb behind my couch in May.
I’m convinced that the greatest contribution to the yeast—and eventual mold in my life—is my waning relationship with God.
Every week in the Tabernacle, the priests would eat the bread of the presence from the Table in the Holy Place and then bake more bread to replace the consumed bread. There was never any time for the bread to spoil. In eating the bread, and then replacing it, the priests were commemorating the covenant between God and the Israelites—they were formally confirming their close relationship with God (Exodus 24:11). As fully functional representatives for the people of Israel, the priests would repeatedly and consistently feast on God, and then impart that feast (and covenantal relationship) upon the people.
Fortunately, we can now intimately commune with God. We no longer have to rely on a priest to feast on the Bread of Life on our behalf. However, from a different perspective, our spiritual life cannot be rescued or salvaged through the duties and responsibilities of our representative priests. We can’t avoid becoming a bread bomb by indolently watching our priests engage in a dynamic relationship with God. No one else can save us from our own diminishing spirituality. If we avoid feasting on the Bread of Life ourselves—repeatedly and consistently—we will mold.
I know what I have to do. I have to step up to the plate bearing the Bread of Life and dig in. If I don’t feast on the Bread today, someday soon, I’ll pull back the couch of my spirituality and discover a bag full of something abominable and repugnant.