By Peter Perkowski
I’ve been biking over a thousand miles a year for the past three years, and very rarely do I actually stumble across something on the side of the road that is worth stopping to pick up. What I mostly pass while riding is litter, shredded truck tires, and broken bungee cords. However, today was one of those rare occasions where I actually found treasure. About forty miles into today’s ride it appeared as if a truck had lost some of its load on the side of the road. Scattered all over the grass near the shoulder were about forty snack size bags of Baked Lays potato chips (one of my favorites)! I opened one bag and ate it while I collected the others and sure enough they were as fresh as could be. I loaded up my bike and jersey with as many as I could carry, about 15 bags or so, and brought them to share at our next rest stop.
On this bike adventure, I’m always in need of food to keep fueling myself for the miles ahead. Today’s incident made me think of the story of how God supplied manna (food from heaven) to the Israelites while they journeyed through the desert in the book of Exodus. Manna was food that fell from the sky once a day and it only lasted one day before it would spoil. The Israelites would collect what they needed to continue on for that day and each day they would have to trust that God would provide for them again fresh manna. While Lays are not exactly manna, it was nice to be surprised by a free snack that had fallen right where I could collect it, and it was surely welcomed. Manna is an Old Testament example of how God cared for the Israelites from heaven, but once God sent his son Jesus to earth we are taught about food that does not spoil. It’s that food that fuels this trip for many of us riders, not so much physically, but it feeds us mentally and spiritually in order to keep peddling along.
In John 4:13, Jesus is resting near a well on the outskirt of town while his disciples go into town to buy food. When the disciples return, they see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman who is drawing water from the well, and he told the woman everything she had ever done leading her to believe that he was the Son of God. The disciples then offer Jesus food, but he declines and says, “I have food to eat that you do not know about,” The disciples confused said to one another, “Surely no one else has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “my food is to do the will of him who sent me (God) and to complete his work.” For Jesus, the work God sent him to do was to teach us how to love one another, how to inherit eternal life in heaven, how to live faithfully, and to offer us forgiveness for our sins through his atonement on the cross. Once you discover God’s will in your life and start doing it, it is more satisfying than any meal, and that is the “food” Jesus is referring to. For many others and me on the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, it is the service we do on homes across the country to help others and the message we get to spread along the way that fuels our journey. Tomorrow I’m sure all those Lays I collected will have been consumed and our bodies will need more food, but our heart and soul will be remain satisfied as long as we continue to do God’s work through the Fuller Center for Housing.