May 24, 2023
Sharing yet another story from the first audiobook in the “Tales of the Kingdom” series, David and Karen Mains discuss the bottom-line message of the Lord Jesus Christ: His Kingdom. Understand that the Kingdom of God is wherever the reign of God’s Son is recognized and honored.
This month on the podcast, we’ve been featuring David using his most grandfatherly dramatic reading ability. To focus on some of the stories of that series. The books were written for children of all ages, not to replace Scripture, but to enhance our understanding regarding one of the main messages our Lord presented while here on Earth. The message of the kingdom of God. And we titled this story, “The Baker Who Loved Bread.”
David: Karen, I was in an airport waiting for a plane to take on passengers and a stranger walked over to me and asked, “How goes the world”?
Karen: So, what did you say?
David: My response, because I perceived that he was one of our listeners, was, “The world goes not well, but the kingdom comes.” We kind of laughed together, huh?
Karen: Those are lines all of our publishing team and readers know are from our series of books titled, “Tales of the Kingdom”, Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3. I hear you and this man laughed together and had a short but meaningful conversation.
David: Yeah, it was short because I had to get on the plane, but it was meaningful, yes.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted Author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
Karen: This month on the podcast, we’ve been featuring David using his most grandfatherly dramatic reading ability. To focus on some of the stories of that series. The books were written for children of all ages, not to replace Scripture, but to enhance our understanding regarding one of the main messages our Lord presented while here on Earth. The message of the kingdom of God. And we titled this story, “The Baker Who Loved Bread.”
David: Once upon a time, there was a king who walked to stride his world here, there, and everywhere. He became poor in order to be like the people he loved. And he lived among the outcasts in order to feel their pain.
The baking complex was hidden in the heart of deepest forest, close to the clearing where the great celebrations were held. It was important to the Chief Baker that the breads from his ovens be served warm and fresh at the banquet tables. He had carefully planned this cluster of stone houses where the bakers lived, and the many outdoor clay ovens were. Some large, some small, some with roaring fires, some with smoldering charcoal beds. Each oven was designed to bake a different kind of bread to perfection.
This baker had worked hard to become chief. His father had been a baker and his grandfather before that. But he had his own particular genius for making bread. His doughs were lighter and more nourishing than any of his ancestors had ever kneaded. There wasn’t a dough of any kind—wheat, harai, or corn—that didn’t become tasty and delicious after his touch.
The Chief Baker particularly loved making special breads for the great celebrations. He loved to twist and braid dough. He loved to invent new recipes for sweet breads. He loved muffins and biscuits and brioches and croissants. He loved to hear the “oh-ho’s” of the king’s subjects when, with a flourish, the banquet procession was begun and his many bakers carried creations into the feast in great baskets. “Chief Baker’s done it again”, everyone always exclaimed. “No one can make breads that melt in your mouth like these.” Bread, the Chief Baker knew, gave special strength, so he prepared baskets of round, black loaves to feed those who had spent the morning at the practice field. He admired the rangers and enjoyed preparing nourishing squash and cheese breads for them to carry on watch.
After that, however, he drew the line. He refused to send baskets of bread to Old Mercy, though she had never requested them from him. “She had a fireplace and recipes of her own”, Chief Baker thought. “Beside it would only encourage her and that crazy husband of hers to keep filling great park with weird people. If these outcasts had so much wrong with them, they must have done something to deserve it. They certainly were not worthy of the king’s bread.”
One day the Chief Baker inspected his new invention, a wooden paddle wheel that needed thirty loaves of bread at the same time. “Genius”, he thought. At that moment Chief Baker noticed someone walking up the path to the open clearing of the baking complex. It was a woman carrying a baby in her arms. Her clothes were ragged. Chief Baker looked around for his assistant, but he could see that the boy was in the middle of rolling out flaky pastry. All the other bakers seemed to be busy. Grinding flour, measuring ingredients, watching loaves in the oven. “I’ll handle this intruder myself”, he thought. Still, he hated interruptions. Good bread was a matter of timing. A moment too soon, a moment too late, and all was lost.
“What do you want?” he asked the woman gruffly, as he met her on the path. Her baby whined. His little head hung limply on its neck. “Please, sir,” the woman answered, “…some bread. We lost our way in the forest. My child and I, and we’ve not eaten for two days.” A likely story thought Chief Baker. These kinds of people were always looking for a handout, the lazy things. “Can’t you see I’m getting ready for the great celebration? We have hundreds of loaves to make today. I can’t be bothered just now. Go find Mercy. She’s always feeding your kind.” The baby whined again, and Chief Baker thought the woman tried to look even more pathetic than she was. He relented a little and drew a map in the dirt. “This is the way to Caretaker’s Cottage.”
No sooner had the Baker woman left than Chief Baker spied something moving in the woods. Someone was hiding behind a bush, a burner, maybe, trying to steal some of his fire, a thief of some kind, surely. Chief Baker pretended to be walking down the path into the woods, but he suddenly veered and grabbed a ragamuffin who had been hiding behind a tree. “Aha!” he cried, “…just as I suspected, a thief trying to steal some bread.” The boy was so filthy that the man held him up and away at arm’s length.
“No, sir, no sir”, said the boy, kicking and screaming. “I was just sm-smelling the bread. It smells so good.” “And that’s all you’re going to do. Smell. Don’t you dare come into my baking complex. I won’t have people finding baked fleas in their bread. Be off with you. If I catch you around here again, I’ll bake you!” Chief Baker kicked the urchin a few times until he started running. Then threw some stones at the boy as he hurried down the path.
No sooner was the urchin gone than the warning horn blew out of the depths of the forest. “Gray! Gray!” It signaled that danger was abroad. The first blast was answered by another, and then the chilling cry travelled on and on as one ranger responded to another.
Chief Baker heard a scuffle in the middle of the complex. Two bakers were holding a stranger who was struggling to free himself. The Chief Baker grabbed a sturdy baking paddle and leaped into the fray. One look and he could tell the man was up to no good. The baker hit the man with a broad paddle—once, twice, three times, and finally the intruder crumpled to the ground.
“We caught him trying to steal bread, sir,” the other bakers explained. “Still, my bread” thought the Chief Baker. “I’ll teach you.” He hit the man again, and again to make sure he didn’t have any tricks left in him until the stranger struggled to his feet and limped into the forest. Grooooooooooooooooooooo! The warning signal was sounding louder.
Suddenly a band of the blue cloaked men and women stepped out of the forest. Several of them were carrying a man who looked almost lifeless. “Stand back, stand back”, commanded a ranger as the bakers came running to see what had happened. “Stand back. The king has been wounded. The king has been wounded. Make way, make way.”
Cry of horror went up in the baking complex. The injured person was the king. Chief Baker, one of the rangers, called, “Help us care for our king.” “Here, here”, he answered, eager to do whatever he could.
The king was carried into the baker’s stone house and laid on his bed. Fires were lit in the fireplace. A watch was posted to make sure that no more harm would come, and a signal was sent through the forest for Mercy. She would know how to help.
Birds and creatures? The ground itself moaned the terrible news. “The king is wounded. The king is wounded. The king, the king, the king. Who has done this?” asked the Chief Baker. But no one seemed to know, because the king had not spoken a word since they lifted his unconscious body from deepest forest. “If I discover who has wounded my king”, thought the Chief Baker, “I will gladly beat that enemy with my bread-paddle.” He remembered how well he had trounced the stranger who had been trying to steal bread.
Mercy finally arrived. She bent over the lifeless and terrible still form on Chief Baker’s bed. Her eyes filled with tears. “Give me your hatchet”, she said to the ranger standing by the king. “Quickly”! She turned the hatchet in the firelight. The flames flickered on the markings.
Finally, she found the mark she sought. Then with her eyes closed she pressed them to her lips and the song came. A slow, quiet song of healing and peace. The old woman walked to the bed and sat down beside the king. She placed one hand behind the young monarch’s neck and one on the arch of his chest. She bent her forehead to his. There she stayed through the long afternoon and into the night with the song of the hatchet, humming in the room.
All through that long night the subjects of the king held him in their hearts, each remembered king’s love. And the forest was quiet. Great Park sat waiting. Even the moon lagged in its course. The people who were in the Chief Baker’s bedroom marked the king’s clear forehead, his high cheekbones, the clammy skin, the dark black hair with glint of gold falling on the pillows.
Finally, near morning, Mercy stood to her feet. She looked as pale as the king. “He will be alright”, she whispered. “The wound has been overcome. Feed him when he asks and lead me to another bedroom.”
Each person in the room felt weak with relief at Mercy’s words. They felt like laughing and crying at the same time. Within seconds the ranger cried, sped through deepest forest. “How goes the world? The world goes not well, but the kingdom comes. The kingdom comes.”
All knew, from the littlest to the largest, that the king was now well and the kingdom intact. They went about their work with glad hearts as the birds greeted the dawn.
Later, Chief Baker carried a tray of his finest breads into the bedroom where the king was resting. He was relieved to find the king sitting jointly in bed. One leg was arched under the cover, and his arms were draped over the back of the bedstead. “Had a little tussle in the wood, oh, my Lord”, the Chief Baker said heartily, trying to cover his concern for the king’s health. He sat down the breakfast tray, and the warm aroma of biscuits and sweet breads filled the room.
“My say”, answered the king, tearing at a warm and fragrant loaf which was filled with juicy berries. He bowed his head, for life in that which sustains it, he whispered. He took a bite and continued speaking, “like a hallway say, if you’re going to get bested by trouble, get bested near the baking complex. The Chief Baker will see that you’re fed. He’ll feed you like a king.”
Chief Baker blushed with pleasure. Attempting to be modest, he said, “Well, Sire, it’s the king’s bread.” The king took another bite. He smiled in, and a quiet voice said, “Yes, king’s bread is for the king’s people, isn’t it?”
The baker was bustling around, opening the windows, stirring the fire. “Yes, Sire”, he said. He remembered the king so still and lifeless. He remembered the long night of fear. Suddenly the emotion of all that had happened overwhelmed him. He choked back tears. He looked the king right in the eyes. “You know, my lord, if I knew who it was that wounded you, I’d fix him, I would.” “Would you?” answered the king and sat down the goblet that was in his hand.
The room became very quiet. The king moved the breakfast tray from his lap, swung out of bed, and walked to the window. Chief Baker watched his broad back dark against the morning light. The sound of busy workers reached them, bakers singing as they mixed dough, bellows blowing, the slamming of oven doors, people calling to one another. The warm fragrance smelled of good things, baking floated into the room.
“You know Baker”, said the king, turning around to look at the Chief Baker. “My wounds are not like those of other men.” Chief Baker stopped his fussing about. He wondered what the king could mean. “When even one of my people is hungry, Baker”, the king said, “…it famishes me. When a little child is beaten, I suffer. If even my enemy feels pain, I hurt.”
The Chief Baker was puzzled for a moment, and with an awful rush of memory he saw the face of a fainting woman he had sent away. He saw the eyes of the filthy child he had kicked and stoned. He heard the cry of the stranger as he had struck him again, and again, with the paddle. He saw the stranger’s body crumpled in the ground. The pain in his eyes resembled the look in the eyes of his king.
“Baker, it is you who has wounded me, even you.” The Chief Baker fell to his knees. “Not I, my lord. Not I.” But he knew it was true. He was haunted by a face, and by eyes, and by a cry. He had given one dirt, one stone, and the other beatings.
The king turned. The gold in his hair shone. The light was raging around his head. It fell around the room and cast the king’s shadow over the bent form of the Chief Baker. “My lord, what can I do? What can I do?” cried Chief Baker, his head now bowed to his knees on the floor. The king answered, “Feed the hungry.”
The king walked over to the man kneeling in horror on the bedroom floor. He lifted him up and embraced him. He whispered, “Feed the hungry. Then I will be full.” He turned and left, striving out the doors, though he had never had a brush with death.
From that day on, the Chief Baker made sure that baskets of bread were taken to Outcast Village for any who had no way to make their own. Knapsacks of emergency rations were stored at each ranger watch tower to nourish any who were in danger or who had lost their way, whether they were evil or good at heart. Racks of rolls and trays of tarts were always kept on hand in the baking complex to welcome visitors, and gingerbread cookies, shaped like animals and decorated with sugar icing were tucked into boxes and sent to Mercy’s Cottage for the children.
And the baker discovered that one could love the work of one’s hands too much, and that one should always love one’s king more. Love for the king is measured by one’s love for his people. So, the baker fed the hungry and fed them well, lest the one he loved the most should starve.
Karen: We’d like to ship you our brand-new Tales of the Kingdom audiobook. This is for a donation of any size during the month of May.
David: And if you’re unable to send a donation, just request the audiobook, and we’ll be more than pleased to send that to you.
Karen: This audiobook is complete with all 12 delightful and inspirational chapters from Book One, an audiobook format on four CDs read by co-author David Armin.
David: Why would we do this, Karen? Well, the reason is very simple. We don’t advertise our products, and yet they continue to sell. I don’t know why that happens, but just people apparently like them. But I’d like to create a little buzz. It’s just people saying these are great stories. Do you know anything about it? Because it’s word of mouth. In fact, Karen, you know, we just continue to sell those books for 40 years now. I had an order from a lady this last week, and she ordered seven sets of the books. One of the sets I sent to a prisoner, and someone incarcerated. It’s cute. And it just keeps going and going. But it doesn’t hurt to say, OK, here’s some more of you. See if you find these helpful, and then talk to your friends and so on. I’m thrilled to be able to give them a little self-conscious. I don’t think I’m the greatest reader in the world. But again, it’s a ministry, and we’re doing the best we can.
Karen: Dean will tell you on how to contact us.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address: email@example.com. That’s all-lower-case letters. firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
To get a copy of Tales of the Kingdom Trilogy, go to this website https://kingdomtales.com/
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