There was a beggar who came and sat before a baker. "I want bread," he said.
"How wise you are," the baker assured him. "Bread is what you need. And you have come to the right bakery." So he pulled his cookbook down from his shelf and began to tell the beggar all he knew about bread.
He spoke of flour and wheat, of grain and barley. The baker's knowledge impressed even himself as he cited the measurements and recipe. When he looked up, he was surprised to see that the beggar wasn't smiling. "I just want bread," he said.
"How wise you are." The baker applauded his choice. "Follow me, and I'll show you our bakery." Down the hallowed halls he guided him, pausing to point out the rooms where the dough is prepared and the ovens where the bread is baked.
"No one has such facilities. We have bread for every need. But here is the best part," he proclaimed as he pushed open two swinging doors. "This is our room of inspiration."
The baker knew the beggar was moved as they stepped into the auditorium full of stained-glass windows. The beggar didn't speak. The baker understood his silence. With his arm around his shoulder, he whispered, "It overwhelms me as well."
Then the baker leaped to the podium and struck his favorite pose behind the lectern. "People come from miles to hear me speak. Once a week my workers gather, and I read to them the recipe from the cookbook of life."
By now the beggar had taken a seat on the front row. The baker knew what he wanted. "Would you like to hear me?"
"No," he said, "but I would like some bread."
"How wise you are," The baker replied. And he led him to the front door of the bakery. "What I have to say next is very important," he told him as they stood outside. "Up and down this street you will find many bakeries. But take heed; they don't serve the true bread. I know of one who adds two spoons of salt rather than one. I know of another whose oven is three degrees too hot. They may call it bread," the baker warned, "but it's not according to the book."
The beggar turned and began walking away. "Don't you want bread?" the baker asked him. He stopped, looked back, and shrugged, "I guess I lost my appetite."
The baker shook his head and returned to his office. "What a shame," he said to himself. "The world just isn't hungry for true bread anymore."
(From a sermon by Douglas Phillips, I Am The Bread Of Life, 1/25/2010)
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