How The Baker Lost His Dough


 
Fresh out of college with the highest honors in his class gave a lot of confidence to Tom Yeast.   The whole world was hungry for the bread he was capable of making.   Things looked even brighter when Susie Kitchen agreed to become his bride.   Together they would make their mark in the world.   Tom heard of a growing town where there was no baker and it was not very long before he established his business and soon he held a virtual monopoly on the baking needs of the community.
 
To Yeast was more than a good baker of bread.   Tom knew more about bread making than anyone in the area.   People came for miles to buy his products and he even had it shipped to places where much older and more established firms were in competition with him.   As Tom prospered, he added equipment and hired more help until he was proprietor of one of the most flourishing bakeries in the industry.   To Yeast’s rise to success had been phenomenal.   But Tom himself was not satisfied.   He continued to make scientific studies and gain knowledge and know-how until he was regarded as an authority on the subject far and wide.   The inhabitants of Bakerville were proud of Tom Yeast and the fame he had brought to their prosperous community.
 
As time went by a noticeable change came into the policy of the “Tom Yeast Baking Empire.”   It was scarcely perceptible at first.   Moreover it was not a planned change.   It all happened quite unintentionally, but it finally brought about the ruin of Tom’s business.   As Tom’s renown in the baking trade became more widely know, he was often asked to speak at public gatherings.   He was especially sought after to address his fellow tradesmen.   Tom could explain the scientific formula and delve into the secrets of bread making in such a manner that he was regarded as the peer in baking.   He chartered planes and traveled widely to keep his appointments to tell others the scientific secrets of baking bread.
 
Gradually the effect of Tom’s absence from his business began to reflect itself on his empty shelves.  People came for bread but were turned away to satisfy their hunger at other places because Tom did not have a supply on hand to meet the needs of his customers.   Instead of providing for the hunger of his friends, Tom sought to satisfy them by offering scientific information about the making of bread.   He prepared long and interesting articles on the making of bread and gave them to his customers.
 
Many honors were conferred on Tom Yeast.   He received degrees from several prominent societies.   He used only the finest equipment and he originated many novel methods to produce and market his product.   There was one fatal flaw in the entire structure though, and that was precipitation a crisis in his business.   While Tom Yeast was busy telling everybody HOW to bake bread, he was neglecting to bake it himself.   The people of Bakerville were going hungry.   They were tired to going by Tom’s empty windows and they found no satisfaction in his recipes or scientific explanations about bread.   In other words they wanted bread.
 
About this time another young man came to Bakerville and made a thorough appraisal of the situation.   He was well aware that his skills did not compare with those of Tom Yeast and he was uninitiated in the scientific details.   However, he knew that by mixing some flour with yeast and a few other ingredients he could make a loaf of bread that would appeal to a hungry person.   It was not long until Bill Crusty found an empty shop where he installed his bakery.   Bill Crusty was not able to provide formulas and data on bread making, but he did have bread.   He was not called away to explain the art of bread making, but he did continue making it.   In a little while the results began to show.   Long time customers of Tom Yeast had tired of going without bread and started making a path to Crusty’s shop.   After a few more years Tom Yeast presided over a bankrupt enterprise.   Tom Yeast spent most of his time explaining how bread is made but hungry men passed by to patronize the well-stocked shelves of Bill Crusty.
 
Jesus well defines the spiritual needs of man as hunger.   When He said, “I am the bread of life,” He spoke a language anyone can understand.   Bread is the staff of life.   Jesus is the satisfying portion, who meets the need of the hungry soul.   But sometimes we get so concerned with the theological technicalities that we fail to find the “bread” we need to satisfy our spiritual hunger.   Some mental giants and theological wizards tower over the horizon with surpassing knowledge and wisdom.   They supply us with theories and speculations of great interest.   They plumb the depths of the past and plot the course of the future.   They invent new words to describe new ideas.  That’s very interesting, but not very satisfying to a hungry soul.   Someone has well said, the gospel is “One beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”
 
Could it be that many of the vacant pews in modern churches are mute evidence of the unsatisfied hunger of those who once frequented such places of worship?   Would we find so many costly church building boarded up and going into disrepair if they were concentrating on the Bread of Life?   Is not the spiritual hunger today as great as it ever was?   Tom Yeast’s bakery is boarded up because Tom spent more time on the theory of bread than he did on making bread.   Bill Crusty prospered in the very presence of one who knew much more about baking than he ever hoped to know, but Bill produced something that hungry people needed.
 
What dough is to a baker, the Word of God is to the minister of the gospel.   Tom lost his dough in his effort to spend all his time analyzing it instead of using it to produce bread.   While Tom was climbing to fame as an expert, Bill was satisfying the hunger of his customers.   Most people today regard the Apostle Paul as a leader among Christian preachers, but in Paul’s day his reputation does not appear to have been very attractive.   The Athenians called him a babbler; the Corinthians regarded him as a fool, while Festus in his capacity as judge accused him of being insane.   His physical appearance is described as weak and even some of the churches described his speech as contemptible.   Not very impressive credentials to advertise one of the world’s greatest evangelists!   But Paul had a great message that proclaimed the crucified Christ as the answer to man’s need.   For that reason his name will be enshrined in the hearts of believers as long as the world stands.   That message met the hunger of the soul and satisfied it.   It planted churches that produced man who died for their faith.   Paul gave them bread.   Are we giving them intellectual substitutes?  Time will tell!