One of the things that the Old Testament manna represents is the basic necessities of life, which God provides when we seek Him above and beyond anything else. The Message puts it this way: “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Mt 6:33).
Manna constituted the Israelites’ daily food; they would have literally died without it. To say it was a crucial part of their lives is an understatement, yet they disobeyed God’s instructions concerning it. His mouthpiece, Moses, charged them to make sure they didn’t keep the manna from one day to the next, yet they still tried to hoard it. It’s human nature to hoard, to make sure we have our “fair share.” We don’t like it when someone else has more than we do. Or perhaps the Israelites were lazy—hoping to avoid having to gather the manna the next day.
Or maybe they simply didn’t believe God, who promised to provide daily.
We’re a lot like the Israelites: we want our pantries and bank accounts and clothes closets full—and yet they’re quite never full enough to satisfy us, are they? We want our “safety nets,” our safeguards against not having what we want, when we want it. We loathe the thought of God stripping us of those safety nets because then we’ll have no recourse but to trust Him for each day’s provision, and that’s scary. And inconvenient. And uncomfortable.
And so we hoard.
When we fail to trust God for our basic needs, we fret and worry. We amass more than we need. We fail to abide in the heart of God and instead work so many hours that we become strangers to peace and rest. Worst of all, we miss out on the lovely, exhilarating sensation of belonging completely to Him. We forget that He is responsible and that we’re at His mercy. We turn our backs on His offer of sweet, fresh manna: “No thanks, I’m afraid You’ll shortchange me. Besides, I can manage on my own.”
Our culture insists that amassing wealth and possessions is synonymous with being a responsible adult. Are you brave enough to see that this challenges everything Jesus exemplified? Are you bold enough to trust that God will send the manna day by day?