“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 the dogs.” “Lord,” she replied, “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.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.” Mark 7:27-30 – NIV
This has always been a difficult passage for me. This woman was not Jewish and it seemed that Jesus had insulted her because of her lineage. It is said that the Greek word for “dog” used in this verse did not refer to the “dirty, outside, roaming the streets” kind of dog, but of an “inside, little dog”, a puppy who was endeared by the children and the master of the house. And to “toss” the bread to a puppy was a treat that would come before their regular suppertime. Either way, the woman acknowledged her place as “not a child of Israel.”
From what this woman had heard of Jesus, her request would take just a word from His lips to heal her daughter, simply a “crumb” of the power of Jesus. When Jesus saw her faith, even that of a Gentile, He granted her request. But the story doesn’t end there. Not only did she believe that a “crumb” from Jesus would be enough, she turned to leave, believing that the healing was done. Faith in approaching, faith in asking and faith that she would receive.
Often I have felt like the dog under the table, sniffing at the bounty that lies above, hoping for a morsel to fall my way. I have seen those that have been blessed in great abundance, some by the sweat of their own brow, others, not so much. I too have been blessed with a bowl-full at suppertime yet an extra crumb or two would be welcomed.
There have been times when I’ve stood on my hind legs and pretended to belly up to the grownup table, only to lose my balance, return to all fours and expose my masquerade. Humble pie is a dish served cold and it sticks in the throat on the way down.
“Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” Romans 12:3 – NLT
I should strive to measure myself by the faith God has given me, the place He has led me, and the things He has led me to AND through.
The woman in the story accepted her station as not worthy to sit at the table. She did not ask for the whole loaf, but only a crumb. She returned home to find that a “crumb” was more than enough.
Seeking only crumbs of blessings
But receiving the entire loaf
And being Blessed in Great Measure