Throughout the Bible, God urges us to pray for our individual needs. But here, the wording is OUR daily bread—not MY daily bread. What’s the catch? Two things:
But there is a second point:
In the book, The Lord’s Prayer, Ed Macartney wrote, “When you sincerely utter this prayer you must think of the millions of your unfortunate fellow beings today, and of their need for daily bread, and according to your opportunity give of your own bread to relieve their distress.” And not just food, but whatever you have in abundance.
Can you imagine the impact the Christian church would have if we acted on this principle? Stephen Sorenson from Colorado Springs, Colorado writes the story of a “nonChristian” neighbor of his who recently demonstrated this type of love in a dramatic way. When he moved to the area, he had to renovate the home he purchased. But instead of contracting with an experienced firm, he hired people from the Red Cross shelter and trained them on the job. He took a special interest in Bill, a man with an eight-year old son. Today, Bill lives in a rented cottage and is regaining his self-worth.
I need to emphasize the word “daily” here. Our society’s priority on long-term financial security is what it’s all about from a secular standpoint. We sometimes take our daily bread for granted, and focus on long term retirement goals, and insurance etc. Just yesterday, a major league baseball player signed a 10 year deal for $292 million. Puts the craziness in perspective, does it not? We could be gone tomorrow. Our lives are but like mist. Jesus is encouraging us to trust Him for today’s needs while we “let go” of tomorrow’s anxieties. He thoroughly taught this principle to the Rich Fool in Luke 12:13-21, who had some pretty big barns.
We struggle with daily dependence on God, and Jesus knows it. Our tendency is two things. One, we like control. We want to know the future and what’s coming down
the road. God doesn’t give us a map for the future. But He does give us a compass! God’s supply is sufficient. That doesn’t mean one can’t plan for the future, but a preoccupation with it can be detrimental to one’s faith.
Two, we have a very short memory span. We can forget about God. Not only hours at a time, but days. Yes, that is possible. And Jesus is telling us that is not a prescription for a healthy relationship with a living God who wants to relate with you.
When God provided the manna from heaven for the Israelites, what happened (see Exodus 16)? They hoarded the manna, just like we do. The put their faith in what they accumulated rather than being content each day with what God had given them. The manna spoiled.
God chooses to give us different amounts of bread from what we would choose. “Give us today our daily bread” doesn’t mean that we get extra buttered sour dough bread to last for the next 10 years. The prayer reminds us to reevaluate what is essential for our lives. We’re praying for the basics and not the extras. This perspective is against those claiming that God wants every Christian to live with abundant wealth.
Jesus gives us the bottom line in Matthew 6:25, 32-33. “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…your heavenly Father knows you need “these things). But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Next week: Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors