[Many of our MINISTRY readers knew Dr. Holden as an earnest medical missionary whose services for God and man were outstanding. His fame as a surgeon is too well known to need comment. A few months ago he passed to his rest to await the great day of reunions. We are sure the following article, in which he opened his heart, will bring inspiration to our readers.—R.A.A.]
The petition, "Give us this day our daily bread," is more than an illustration of the depth and breadth and height of the loving care of God. Under four different headings we have everything we could conceive of—mineral, vegetable, animal, and spiritual. How does God give us our daily bread? He said to the soil, "Bring forth wheat," and He has said the same thing each day since that time. The bread we ate for our breakfast this morning is part of God's command back in creation week.
He said on the sixth day, "Eat this bread, this food, and it will give you nourishment." There are about ninety-eight chemicals in the mineral kingdom. A few of these are found in the vegetable kingdom, but not all. There is no gold, silver, or mercury in the vegetable kingdom. But God said, "Bring forth wheat," and He gave to the wheat the power to draw, from the many elements in the soil, the elements it needs for its development. A man can take certain elements and make a protein just like the protein of the wheat. He can take others and make starch like that in wheat. But he never can make a grain of wheat that will grow and make more wheat. God's command is on every loaf of bread that you see today. God gave the soil the power to produce wheat. You eat that bread, and it will give you strength. Just where the wheat ceases to be wheat and becomes you and me, nobody knows. That is a chemical change that nobody understands.
Man can take carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen and make different structures like those in the muscles. He can take them and make bones in the laboratory. But he can never make a man who will stop and think.
Even when we are men who can think and reason, we still have to be translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. That is just as much a miracle as it is for soil to be translated into wheat, and for wheat to be translated into men. Soil never can crawl up and make itself into a vegetable. The vegetable never crawls up into the animal. You have to have a grain of wheat to reach down into the soil and take up elements before you can have the translation from the mineral to the vegetable kingdom. You have to have an animal to cat the vegetable and incorporate its constituents into its own tissues before you can have the translation from the vegetable to the animal kingdom.
Only man, of all the animal kingdom, can come up into the spiritual kingdom. Oh, a man may keep out of jail, he may do some good deeds; but he can never get into the spiritual kingdom except as God translates him there. These are facts which prove that the theory of evolution is all wrong. You have to have a grain of wheat before you can translate soil into wheat. Soil cannot become wheat of itself. You have to have a man before you can translate wheat into the tissues of man. And you have to have a Christ before you can have an ordinary man transformed into a Christian. The petition, "Give us this day our daily bread," is a satisfactory contradiction of the theory of evolution. You have to have the carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen that are in the wheat plus the power that God gave it to grow and germinate and give life. You have to have the hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon that are in man plus the power God gave him to live and think and become translated into the kingdom of His dear Son. The same elements were in Christ when He was here on earth. The same elements are in a Christian as in a non-Christian, but the Christian has power the natural man does not have.
Wheat has more power than a sack of dirt. A sack of wheat can become fifty sacks of wheat. A man has more power than a sack of wheat. A man can do things that the sack of wheat cannot do. And the Christian can do things that the sinner cannot do. He has power to overcome the drink habit, to overcome a disposition to be mean and ugly.
Partnership With God
"Give us this day our daily bread." Jesus said, "I am the bread of life." Through Him we are provided with our daily bread. That does not mean that we are going to sit down and have our food given to us. It is not going to come that way. You sow it, then reap it, grind it, then bake it. God took pleasure in creation. He created it for His pleasure. God likes to take us into partnership in His great creative processes. God wants us to enjoy some of the pleasure He had in creation. He says, "You plant, and I will give life to the plants." He wants us to have a part in it.
When His people were going through the wilderness, He gave them manna. But when they came into the land of Canaan, He said, "You plant again. I want you to have some of the joy of creation." When we take our food, God wants us to have something to do about it. He wants us to have exercise, fresh air, and to do things to keep us in good health. He fed Elijah by sending ravens with food in time of famine, but whenever possible He wants us to have partnership with Him.
Also, when He said, "Be translated into the kingdom of My dear Son," He wanted us to have something to do about that. We must open the door. He said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock," but only if we open the door will He come in and sup with us. He said, "I am the bread of life," but He also said, through the apostle Paul, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you."
We have to plant our wheat each year. We must eat at certain times every day. We could not eat one meal that would last us a year. If we are going to keep spiritual life alive, we must eat each day our daily spiritual bread. God made man on the sixth day of creation. If he had not eaten, he would have died after a while. To begin with, He made a man, but the man had to have something to do himself. When you are brought into the kingdom of God's dear Son, you must keep on eating the bread of life day by day, or you will have a spiritual death.
So you see that the petition, "Give us day by day our daily bread," has a wider application than is ordinarily seen in it. You can thank God that He put life into the bread, and you can thank Him that He translates that into your physical being, and also that the same power is used to translate you into the kingdom of His dear Son.
I think it is so beautiful that Christ put in that prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread." When we think of it in this way, what a blessing we have in our whole daily experience. Every time we sit down to a meal, we can thank God for His power that produced that meal. Yet that meal is no more reasonable than is heaven. God is working in that meal as He is in the spiritual kingdom. Heaven is just as reasonable as the miracle in a kernel of wheat. God's power and God's love are working all the way through. This makes God very close to us and very dear. It means that we can thank God that He made the bread possible in a way that no man can duplicate. And it gives us faith that there is a heaven.
In closing I would like to quote a paragraph from The Desire of Ages, page 660:
"Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament."