Crumbs Make Bread

I have a catchphrase that I’m semi-known for. Don’t get excited, it’s not like what you’d hear in a movie or read in a comic book. There is no epic “I’m Batman” or “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend” to mark a climactic moment. But, in my professional life for the last several years, I have found myself holding down the sales segment that produces the least amount of revenue in my department. I won’t bore you with the intricacies and deployment strategy of hotel sales, but suffice it to say that for every $1,000.00 corporate event I book, my colleague books a $50,000.00 wedding. And so, refusing to be completely eclipsed over the years, I’ve adopted a saying around the office. Lest anyone look down on my $200.00 event or think my clients are not quite as important, I playfully yet sternly remind my peers…crumbs make bread.

There are many benefits to the corporate market that you do not see in the social market, and I’ve made a decent career so far building on meetings and events worth a mere couple hundred dollars, often popping up in an incredibly short timeframe. It took some time and a serious dose of humility to see the value in these smaller events, and even more so, to accept that I am a valuable member of my team despite the relatively small dollar amounts I contribute to the overall pot. It was difficult, but I ultimately came to recognize that the crumbs I received were worth something. More than that, those crumbs filled in holes and made up last minute revenue gaps that other markets would struggle make up. Those crumbs are a valuable part of our overall strategic plan, and eventually, I could clearly see how those crumbs made up a whole…crumbs make bread. 

In last week’s Gospel reading, we heard the story of the Cannaanite woman, who begs our Lord to have mercy on her by healing her daughter plagued by a demon. In this recounting we see a harsh Jesus, who dismisses this woman because she is not Jewish. After all, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24) And yet, the woman does not give up. When she again asks for help, Jesus responds with, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Matt. 15:26) The dogs? Jesus calls her a dog! Still, she refuses to back down, but it is not her own stubbornness or cleverness that gives her the words to force Jesus’ hand. No, she uses his own words to trap him, to his delight. She hears what he says. She believes what he says. She has faith in what he says. And she holds him to his Word. “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” (Matt 15:27) If Jesus has declared her to be a dog, so be it, then she demands the crumbs that have been promised to the dogs! 

This Canaanite woman professes the simple yet beautiful faith that we all strive to declare every day. We are sinful, wild, unruly dogs, undeserving of our Lord’s attention, let alone his love and mercy. And yet, he has promised to toss us the crumbs from his table. “The great power of God isn’t always fully on display for us, and just the crumbs are enough. In fact, that’s really what we live off of. Baptism, that external Word, the words of forgiveness spoken through the mouth of a sinner to us, bread and wine, these sorts of things do His mighty work, and we hold onto them,” Rev. Paul Koch proclaims. Mere crumbs of the fullness of the glory of our God, and yet, we know that crumbs make bread. 

Rev. Ross Engel highlights the value of these crumbs; “The crumbs that we have are treasures to us, but they’re just a taste of what we have to look forward to. And yet, it does it all.” So, I will continue to collect these crumbs that my master has deigned to allow to fall from His table, knowing that one day, when Christ returns, the dead rise, and heaven and Earth are made anew, those crumbs will make bread. 

This article is a brief examination of one of several topics discussed on this week’s episode of Ringside with the Preacher Men. Listen to Rev. Joel Hess, Rev. Ross Engel, Rev. Paul Koch, and special guest Rev. Graham Glover, as they duke it out over whether the church should engage in politics, giant crosses, virtual confession and absolution, and why the crumbs are enough, on the latest full Ringside with the Preacher Men episode, “Church & State with Rev. Graham Glover.”

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