(Not) a nice idea

"Man shall not live on bread alone..." Matthew 4.4

Russian author, Fyodor Dostoyevski, was an early critic of European socialism. He feared that collectivisation would stultify people, turning human beings into beasts. Drawing inspiration from Jesus rebuttal of Satan, when he goaded him to turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger after 40 days of fasting, Dostoyevski insisted that people need higher ideals than economic and political security. Jesus declares that physical sustenance will never be enough to satisfy a person.

That may be true but it begs the question: what can satisfy those hunger pangs? Jesus continues his statement: "... but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." That means that only God can fill the aching void within each human being. Attempts to supplement, or even substitute, God with other "goods" are doomed to frustration. When shall we learn this? The moment we abandon our obsession with "bread", by which I mean the man-made idols which dominate our lives.

Instead, let us focus on obedience to God, holding everything else as light and transitory. Latha obair tòiseachadh (there's a day's work in getting started). so let's start today. Prioritising spiritual sustenance does not imply a disregard for our, or anyone else's, physical needs, it puts them in perspective. Hand-outs are only ever a temporarily satisfactory way of nourishing people. Much better that we work together on a equal footing and with an appreciation for the finer things of life, recognising who it is that provides them.