Tag Archives: crumbs

Is a Crumb Enough?

Today we welcome Susan Hitchman as a regular contributor to UTCOP. Please give her a warm welcome – read her bio below and visit her blog.

Is a Crumb Enough?

by Susan Hitchman


I was thinking of the story in Mark 7:24-30 (and Matt. 15:21-28), entitled “Jesus and the Syrophoenician Canaanite Woman” in my Bible.  I have been intrigued by this story for many years.  It goes like this:

     Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.  He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.  In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.  The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia.  She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

The woman is plucky; she asks Jesus for help, but is not dissuaded by his potentially offensive metaphor of children/bread/dogs.  Instead, she rises to the occasion and applies the metaphor to her advantage.  Rather than being put off by her bold and assertive manner, He grants her request because of her boldness.

I like that interaction between Jesus and the woman; she knows she desperately needs Jesus and she will not allow herself to be offended.  I can almost see Jesus with piercing eyes and the beginnings of a smile challenging her request with his off-putting rebuff. I imagine her own shrewd look as she phrases her cheeky reply. With a slight nod and murmuring “touché!” under his breath perhaps, Jesus grants her request.  He directs her home, where she finds her prayer granted, her daughter healed.

I’m thinking this story is included in the gospels for a reason.  A good reason.  And I’m thinking I’ve overlooked this story far too long.  Many times I’ve asked God to teach me to pray, and I think there’s something important in this story that answers at least a ‘crumb’ of that prayer.

     “For that reply”, Jesus enjoins.

For her reply, the woman gets exactly that for which she asks.  What is it about her reply?  I’m thinking I really need to know what it is about her reply that touches Jesus.

Her reply illustrates her belief that the smallest crumb from the Bread of Life is more than sufficient to meet her most desperate need.  She is saying He is Omnipotent God.  For that reply, he gives her the ‘crumb’ she needs.

 Omnipotent Maker;
Redeemer of All, Bread of Life;
Of crumbs from your table
of blessing and mercy and grace
I must eat or be starved;

My hunger is slaked
by your Life-bread alone.
Let me eat of your fare,
For I hunger of You,

Hear my desperate plea,
O fill me or I die.

Sue Hitchman

Susan HitchmanSue  seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, co-leader of a women’s Bible study group and parent prayer group, and retreat speaker.  She is a member of The Word Guild and NCWA. Outdoor pursuits (cycling, gardening, hiking, & kayaking) remind her of God’s creative bent and constant presence. She writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God.  Visit her blog at: Word Made Flesh.



by Heather McGillivrary

In times of plenty

it’s hard to imagine

that crumbs

could be anything but waste, to be wiped away with the trash.

A good meal

is taken for granted

in times of plenty.

Sometimes, when my heart is filled up with plenty–plenty of activities; plenty of dreams; plenty of goals to achieve–I give God the crumbs.

When my prayer time gets swept away with the wastefulness of life it’s never long before famine sets into my soul.

And I find myself back at the altar,

begging just to taste the crumbs at His table, once more.

Heather McGillivray

Heather lives in Chelmsford, Ontario, with her college aged children. She knows they haven’t left yet because she’s still doing their laundry and buying lots of groceries–she just can’t figure out where they’re hiding, or what they’ve done with the van.
The most exciting thing in her life right now, apart from Jesus, is that He’s letting her write her very first novel, and she’s almost done it. She loves poetry, and could get lost for weeks at a time in a good one.
What she knows above all else, is that God hears and answers prayer–and for that she is eternally grateful. Visit her at her blog.