You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw themselves”. (Exodus 5:7)

The Israelites in Egypt were engaged in the business of building mud bricks, low in clay content, and thus needing the binding material of straw with the quota and quality of bricks predetermined.  Loam, sand, mud and water were insufficient. As wire reinforced concrete, so did the linear nature of straw strengthen the bricks. The brick-fields and straw fields were miles apart. The straw (tebhen) which came from the threshing operations directly, was supplied by the authorities and delivered to the brick-makers. Pharaoh’s new decree now meant that the Israelites would have to leave the brick-fields and gather their own straw, lowering the daily brick output. Force to find their own straw, they occasionally gathered stubble (qash), the remnant, unused corn stalk, that no one wanted, leading to a poorer quality brick.   We are in the construction business in Seventh-day Adventist education.  Members send us their children, so that we can develop them into bricks, formed after the similitude of a palace.  Churches provide a subsidy, parents send tuition, conferences provide support, and wealthy benefactors sometimes stand out. Yet, occasionally, we are called to build and produce the same quality of bricks with less straw, so that the brick output is threatened. The sources of straw may appear to be declining or people are taking their straw elsewhere to other brick-layers.

       What do you do when the source of straw dries up and you have got to produce the same number of bricks? How do you get alternative straw? You might lower the price of the bricks, or provide add-ons to the bricks to make them more appealing.  Whatever you do, straw is needed—the straw of teacher preparation and devotion, church and organizational support, subsidies, investments, and the milk of human kindness.  Yet when straw is scarce, we must be careful to distinguish straw from stubble.   My plea to all brick-makers and straw providers is to continue your straw supply, for the brick is as strong as the straw provided.  Brick-layers can occasionally become overburdened and overworked if they must also search for straw. I firmly believe that  “God Shall Supply all our Needs”: Demonstrable Trust--demonstrate trust in God in all your planning—we are apt to have fewer brick-layers and to cut corners to accommodate the smaller supply of straw—God shall supply all your needs; Look for your own straw—If you are not given straw, then you may come up with ways to find your own straw—God shall still  supply all your needs; Don’t fall for the stubbleGod shall supply all your needs. A moment of crisis, provides a season for opportunity—“God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ”. In days of lesser straw, the stones shall cry out in unison, “for I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). Tamela Mann shares how God provides and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir reminds that all help comes from God.