Flour has become a no-go for many people these days. The fight against gluten and carbohydrates is quite prevalent. Much of this has to do with how much our surroundings have changed. Most of us don’t need many carbohydrates. Those whose bodies are still their primary focus for work, still need them, but the rest of us…not so much.
Where Elisha kept and why he kept flour is kind of a mystery. Perhaps that was a thing. If you had oil, flour, water, and fire, you could make bread (you know, that evil carbohydrate).
Imagine having enough faith in God that you would trust simple flour to turn a poisonous stew into something safe and nutritious (no one said tasty). That is the faith of Elisha. This is the kind of faith that it would be nice to have, but we all are too educated and smart to believe that flour would cure poisonous stew. And, yes, that is something to mourn.
Jesus, on the other hand, wasn’t looking for stew. He wasn’t looking for food at all. At least, that’s the image he gives. Jesus was fully human. Jesus needed food. Jesus also used examples that were in front of him.
It is quite likely that the disciples had brought food. Perhaps even freshly made bread from freshly harvested grain. Or perhaps there was grain harvesting happening around them right now. While watching a single human harvest grain may not be impressive. Which may be the point.
A harvester would have been in the middle of a field. Over time the harvester makes a difference, but in the beginning, that single person gets lost in a sea of grain. Using that imagery, Jesus was telling his disciples that the work of the kingdom is now and tomorrow.
- Why is the image of a single harvester lost in a sea of grain important for our kingdom work?
- Thinking of the grain that Jesus used as an example, how might the Elisha’s flour fit into telling something about the kingdom of God?
- Do you think of yourself has a harvester, worker, planter, plower in the kingdom of God?