Love without Bread

A WORLD WITHOUT BREAD

The title sounds far fetched.  Man has become too advanced in thinking to let that happen and he has the means to avert such a fate.  It is true that man is and has, but does he do it? It is what he does, with what he knows, that contradicts his destiny of securing sufficient bread to feed the world.  According to the prediction in the Book of Revelation, man himself, will create an environment, which will result in a shortage of food, that will destroy one fourth of humanity (Rev. 6:8).  How can this be?  Let us see, who is in charge of our bread supply, and in what direction are we moving?

The world has been ravaged by hunger and starvation caused by famine, plagues and war.  War was the main reason to secure bread by exploiting each other and leave the loser in dire need.  Losers united and became strong enough to exploit others.  Living off the spoils of the losers, led to the neglecting their own agriculture.  Weapons of war became more important than bread.  Even in our time, we farmers were rationed to support the war and the weapon industry.  Instead of improving the land, we had to strengthen the war machine.  If we did not, we became traitors of the Reich and ended up in concentration camps.  In Dachau alone 2999 clergymen were killed before Jews were brought in.  It was not just Germans, who were doing the killing.  All our able and fit Germans in our community in Poland were incarcerated, mistreated and some were killed.  There is no hiding place for people that do not match the profile of those in power.  We all feel endangered by people, who differ from us during war; particularly, when it concerns our survival.  In one instance, the people in hiding silenced their crying baby from being killed themselves.   War is not a bread maker, but it is a path to famine, suffering and starvation.  It devastates the land and decreases the supply of bread.

Jesus, the Christian authority on how God feels about the world, said that God loved the world and that He wanted the world being managed with love (Jn. 3:16).  “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it, and so is all life in the world” (Ps. 24:1).  The world is God’s garden and man is his steward or faithful servant (Gen. 2:5).  God made a good world and everything in it was good (Gen. 1).  God, alone, is good and the Bestower of every good gift after man disobeyed and lost Paradise (Mk. 10:18; Ja. 1:17).  Man was also good, until he allowed himself to be misled by temptation (Gen. 3).  It was, when man seared his conscience, that he no longer was capable of “agape” love and replaced it with “phileo” love and “eros” love.  In most cultures we have one word for “love,” but in practice, we do have three distinct applications.  We have a godly kind of love, where we get our hands dirty doing something beneficial for others.  It is sacrificial, without counting one’s own cost.  That is precisely what “agape” love is about.  Then, we do have a friendship kind of love, where we do for each other what is acceptable, proper and expected.  We manage to get along and serve each other, and we even risk our lives for our friends.  This is “phileo” love and it is sufficient for most of us, as it was for Peter (Jn. 21:15-17).  The most used kind of love in our today’s culture is the “eros” love.  It is driven by sexual passion and a desire for fame, lust and riches.  The word “eros” does not appear in the Bible; but the Bible is filled with people, who practiced “eros” love openly in public.

The “eros” lives in all of us and it is the major cause why the world is breaking up.  The “eros” within us is too hungry to be satisfied.  It is not content with mere bread and drink.  We need and want to be recognized; and in order to do so, we use any means to get where we want to go or where we want to be.  It is then, that we like Eve, listen to the snakes, which have the cure for our hunger.  I remember well, how Hitler became a hero for our people, including myself.  We were persecuted and threatened with Siberia, at the onset of World War II, and Hitler delivered us from that dismal fate.  My wife and her family were on a train to Siberia, when the German army advanced into Russia and the Soviets needed the train to transfer soldiers.  They unloaded my wife’s people in an open filed, where they were to be killed.  The German army surprised the killers, and brought these people back to us in Western Poland.   Who do we think was the hero for these people?  Of course, at the end we were worse off than before.  The tragic part was, what Hitler did with us, would end in disaster.  We were helpless to do anything about.  That is, precisely, what the American politicians are doing to America, and we can do nothing to prevent immanent disaster.  America is not about to believe, that their program failed in China and Russia.  A small country, like Cuba, has made it longer than any other, because it shipped her unemployed and unwanted to America.  Socialism came to America in small dozes and it was constantly interrupted by capitalism.  The next election will decide, whether socialism can be contained or restrained. 

Who has and is creating this madness?  Who elects these Hitler’s or false Messiahs?  The answer is, we do!  By electing leaders to do for us, what we ought to do ourselves.  We are led, to believe, that they could do for us, what we could not do for ourselves.  We allow ourselves to be brainwashed.  I have been brainwashed by Nazis, ideologies and politicians, and fortunately, I have survived.  I cannot foresee that happening for my children and or my grandchildren.  The farther our expanding population moves away from the land, the closer we get to a time, when the desperate need for bread will dictate our destiny.  The earth brings forth life and life lives on bread and bread comes from the hands of the farmer, who nourishes and cares for the land, as much as he cares for himself.  The Bible teaches than man and the earth were bound forever.  Any separation from the land longer, than five decades, was detrimental.  Land was a grant from God in perpetuity, and the land could not be traded or sold; the land could only be leased for periods of six years, with the seventh years as a Sabbath (Lev. 25).  Man was to treat the land, the way he was to treat himself, and no mega owner, can meet God’s requirement to keep the land productive. 

The soil is very much like a plant, a fruit tree or the human body.  It requires attention, care, nourishment and rest.  To keep the earth in shape is an enormous task and it should engage every human being (Gen. 1:17-19).  At the end of World War II, the Checks and Poles drove out the Germans and they were spread out in four military occupational zones.  Those that were assigned to where we had settled two years earlier asked for land to have their gardens.  A farmer agreed to lease some ground and these people developed fertile gardens with vegetables.  One of our daughters–in–law raised tomatoes on her roof garden.  We are long past our prime and we still garden.  There is no excuse for man, not to get his hands dirty.  According to the Bible, a person that bonds with the land lives healthier and longer (Deut. 11).

The earth has and is being neglected and mistreated (Num. 35:33).  It groans for deliverance from the yoke of human neglect and oppression (Ro. 8:22).  Treating the earth with love and respect is a moral issue and everyone’s personal responsibility. The earth is man’s nest egg.  It is not a smart bird, which uses the nest for its droppings.  The first thing I had to learn, as a child, was that to love God I had to clean up after me.  Mostly my mother and grandmother kept on reminding me, that I was not showing love by being dirty.    Leaving things lying around outside was not a sign, that I loved or obeyed anybody, less of all God.  My childhood view of how to love God is exactly what the Creator told Adam and Eve; namely, they were to tend the garden (Gen. 2:15).  When the two disobeyed, they were forced to bond with the earth in order to survive (Gen. 3:17-19).  The first order of business for man in the world was, “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28).  The first act of love, is how we treat the ground we live on.   With the help of the bank, my wife and I live in a beautiful place that honors and praises God.  She, no longer can stand or bow to weed.  Now she sits on a stool or a pale and cares for her garden, and what an array of flowers we still enjoy.

Man has no excuse for failing to bond with the earth.  God, through Moses, has provided a blueprint that worked well until men turned the management over to individuals and to systems.  Moses returned the bread production to the individual or the family also known as the household, as it was with Adam.  The Joseph approach, to famine, was a temporary solution.  It enslaved the people to be subject to one person.  Moses instructed Joshua to give every household a piece of land to manage it, as if it were their own.  Their farming proved so productive, that the neighboring nations began to invade and take their harvests.  Instead of staying united and defend themselves in emergencies, they turned to individuals to defend them and save their crops.  This is the story of Joshua and Judges. 

Next to Moses, Samuel was forced to introduce the king.  In spite of all his warnings of the cost and power such a person would assume, the Israelites were set on having a king (I Sam. 8).  From a government of ten percent cost, they were willing to sacrifice more than half of their income, in addition to their sons and daughters and men power.  King Saul failed, and David united the tribes at a high price and sacrifices.  Solomon bankrupted the nation, while building a temple and his castles for his foreign wives and himself.  The dedication of the temple alone out spent all other religions in Solomon’s time.  The cost and sacrifices were staggering (II Sam. 8:62-66).  The Davidic kingdom split into two, and neither of them, recovered from the debt Solomon incurred.  He robbed the people of their bread and excused it as a service to God.  It does resonate of what is happening in our world today.