You didn’t get it all, did you?
Even now, as the Feast ends and we’re allowed to bring things like bread and baking soda and self-rising flour back into our lives, we’re faced with the uncomfortable truth that we missed something. Maybe it was the bagel sitting in plain sight all week. Maybe it was the nearly invisible crumb of a long-forgotten muffin nestled deep within the crevices of your living room couch. Either way, no matter how hard we tried, we missed something. Short of burning your house to the ground and starting over, there’s simply no way to get it all.
No matter how many times I keep these Days, that’s the inescapable truth: I can’t do it. Not perfectly. Not on my own. No matter how surgical my approach, no matter how precise my attack plan, I am practically guaranteed to overlook something.
There are a lot of lessons in all that. We can talk about how easy it is for sin to hide right under our noses, completely unnoticed. We can talk about sin’s capacity to burrow deep into the crevices of our hearts and remain untouched for years. We can talk about the way our favorite activities and pastimes can be laced with sin, but we never bother to check the ingredients label because what could possibly be wrong with that?
We could talk about all those things, but I think, buried deep underneath it all, is a far more important question:
If we’re going to fall short of God’s command—if no amount of effort can guarantee that we’ll remove every solitary scrap of leavening from our homes—why bother at all?
When we find ourselves up against the impossible, there are two paths we can decide to take:
- It’s impossible, so give up.
- It’s impossible, so look to Christ’s sacrifice and keep going.
The Days of Unleavened Bread remind us of a standard we’re incapable of reaching on our own: a perfect, sinless life. Even as we’re striving to put sin out, we’re forced to accept the fact that we can’t do it perfectly on our own.
But we’re not on our own. Jesus reminded His disciples, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), and the author of Hebrews reminds us, “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
If the message of Passover is begin, then the message of Unleavened Bread is keep going. Even when you’ve failed. Even when the task at hand seems impossible. Christ has your back, and He’s already paid the price of falling short. All He and God the Father ask now is that you keep going. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.
“A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16).
And next year, maybe you will notice the bagels sitting in your pantry. Next year, maybe you will vacuum a little deeper into the couch and get the crumb that’s been hiding there for the past decade. Next year, maybe you will check the label of that food you thought was leaven-free and throw it out in time.
And that’s why we bother. Unleavened Bread reminds us of the bigger picture. Even though we didn’t overcome all our sin this year, we hopefully did a better job than last year. And even though we won’t overcome it all next year, we’ll hopefully do a better job than this year—every year becoming a little more aware, a little more diligent, a little closer to where we’re supposed to be, all while trusting Christ’s sacrifice to fill in the gaps when we fall short.
Unleavened Bread isn’t about being perfect. It’s about pushing toward it.
Until next time,