Manna Gathering by Kylie Hultgren

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5–6)

I’ve discovered I tend to be quite similar to squirrels when it comes to anticipating winter. I always seem to expect a dry season to spring on me and catch me off guard, requiring me to fight back. I am constantly storing up in anticipation and fear of loss. Just in case my car breaks down, how much insurance should I have? Just in case I forget something on my schedule, I should constantly be checking it. And as silly as it sounds, just in case my favorite piece of clothing suddenly is out of stock, maybe I should just buy a few extras.

It sounds ridiculous, but I can be so paranoid about loss, that I neglect the One from whom my next moment is given. I somehow get into this mindset that it all depends on me—I am the hero of my own story. Just in case tomorrow brings extra troubles that can’t be accounted for by the One who saved me from the destructive pit and sustains my life, I better collect enough manna.

By golly, doesn’t this sound just like the Israelites during their desert wanderings. Sometimes we claim that we must make Scripture relevant or applicable to our today, and I do this without any effort or alteration in my quest to be like the Israelites. Hypersensitivity to loss and destruction is ingrained in us, and that means the battle against “manna hogging” must take place daily.

In Exodus 16:4-5, “the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.’” (NIV)

Manna gathering is a daily process, receiving just enough of the bread God provides, and trusting that the next day will rain down blessings of its own. We get in a sticky situation of distrust and fear when we try to store up for tomorrow what is only meant to sustain us for today. Do you believe that the Bread of Life will give you himself and enough manna bread, too?  Perhaps it’s time I stop putting him to the test and let myself and my trust be tested, just like the Israelites I am so fond of imitating.

Charles Spurgeon addressed this worry in Morning by Morning: “When a man is anxious he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master; his thoughts are serving himself. If you would ‘seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,’ all things would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ’s business, and neglecting your own, when you fret about your lot and circumstances… Be wise, and attend to obeying, and let Christ manage the providing” (354).

Our job is to follow Christ in obedience, not anxiously store up for what we fear might happen tomorrow. We have no clue what will happen tomorrow, but we can count on it to be good and from God’s good hand.

Recently, the Lord has been telling me that goodness is in store. I asked him, “What kind of goodness?” I wanted the specifics. He responded by saying, “The king of all goodness and mercy will be on the throne. You will be found worshiping at his feet.” 

Now that's what I can count on for tomorrow. So, I drop my basket of manna and open my hands in expectation of what is to come.