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Just one roll of toilet paper

In the desert he fed you manna—something your ancestors had never seen. He tested you to make you humble so that everything would go well for you in the end.
Deuteronomy 8:16 (ERV)

toilet-paperIt’s called Manna House. I thought I got it, you know, manna...basic needs...God provides...every day. We all know the story (Exodus 16).

But until last week, I never really related the only-one-day-at-a-time part to the Manna House. 

Until one roll of toilet paper. 

I’m not sure where all these things come from to give to our city’s poor—I suppose some are leftovers from restaurants; some are mislabeled cans that can’t be sold; some are donations from individual companies.

I just know it’s a lot of stuff.

But there’s a lot of people.

So while they can distribute a variety of goods to everybody that comes in, the quantities per person are limited.

Thursday night I was helping give out toiletries. It’s typically the last stop before the exit. After going through a food line, people can ask for extras like shampoo and deodorant. Baby wipes and four diapers per child. One regular bar of soap or three bars if they’re small.

And one roll of toilet paper (as long as it lasts—we ran out Thursday night).

All are welcome to come back another day and get another roll. And many do. But for that day, that’s it. Enough for a day for a family. Manna.

My first thought was I’d love to bring in tons of 12-roll packages and pass them out whole. “Here, take ALL these home and enjoy all week!” Because if there’s one thing I never want to run out of it, it’s toilet paper. (I vowed after I moved on my own that I never would. And rarely have I.)

Yet...yet...there’s something about them receiving only enough for the day—and us giving only enough for the day—that keeps them coming back and keeps us coming back (I use “us” generously—I’m an infrequent volunteer)...and keeps us all dependent on the mercy of God.

Now that’s not to say God wouldn’t want to bless someone with a 12-roll. Or that he wants us all to live life on the edge of one roll at a time.

But if one roll a day is what he gives—with hope for another roll tomorrow—it is enough. For them.

But is it for me?

Am I satisfied with my manna? (And I’m not necessarily talking toilet paper anymore.)

  • My manna of energy?
  • My manna of time?
  • My manna of knowledge? Is it enough that I know today how I can glorify God? Or do I want a week’s supply of knowledge to store up? A month? A lifetime? (Would I feel differently if every morning I opened up my closet I found maggots in my 12-pack of knowledge?)

One day enough.

There’s something about receiving only enough for the day that keeps me coming back for more. It keeps me dependent on the mercy of God.

If he chooses to give me more than a day’s supply—and in many things he does, I eat often of the fruit from Canaan (Joshua 5:12)—I’ll take it and be grateful.

But when he supplies me only day by day, I still want to give thanks. For humility. For provision. For enough.

It’s all grace.
He will provide.
He can be trustedone roll at a time.

* * *

What do you have a fear of running out of? 
I’m thankful his grace is bottomless!



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