Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread…by Pastor Bennett
Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread
Double-dose on the “Lord’s Prayer” study from last week! Today I’d like to explore the prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
The Christian worldview sees that all things belong to God, and therefore all things we have and need are graciously given to us by God. When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we’re asking and trusting God to give us everything we need for today. We live life one step at a time, which is why Jesus tells us to not be so anxious about the issues of the future, but rather to trust him in the here and now—present tense.
What is daily bread? In a word, everything. “Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body,” says Martin Luther.
We ask and trust that God will provide for us—he’ll take care of us and give us what we need. But this all leads to a difficult question: Why, then, is there deprivation? Why is there poverty? If we can trust God to take care of us the way Jesus talks about in Matthew 6, then why are there so many people who look like they’re not getting everything they need? These questions may become more potent as we carry on through this COVID-19 crisis.
It would be cruel and unbiblical to say that deprivation comes from lack of faith. Faith is a crucial aspect of the Christian life, but it’s not a push-button to access God. Faith is not like a coin to put into a vending machine. Prosperity-gospel believers beware.
The short answer to the question ‘why deprivation?’ is that we live in a fallen world, and one of the consequences of the fall is deficiency in every area—including food, clothing, and shelter. The gospel remedies all of these deficiencies but in God’s timing and in his way. An old Negro spiritual says, “God don’t come when you want him to, but he’s always right on time.” A Christian must recognize that God knows better than we do.
The Bible is all about redemption, and this redemption we receive in Christ is very springboard for Christians to be involved in God’s redemptive work in this world.
When Paul was pleading to the Corinthians to give generously for the cause of the needy Christians in Jerusalem, he made the argument that all of us were once poor, but are now rich in God’s grace. And because of this we all ought to be generous to others in need. How were we made rich in grace? By the sacrifice of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 8:9: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”
This means that putting forth efforts to help those in need around us isn’t just a way for us to obey God’s command; rather it should be a direct result of embracing what Jesus has already done for us. We become rich by the poverty of Jesus—rich in way that transcends material wealth.
Our view of wealth is often so narrow—we can’t see past this world. But the riches we have in Christ include and transcend this world—we have the promised reality of a new heaven and new earth where we’ll spend eternity in perfect peace and joy, where our ultimate possession is our Savior himself.
Everything else we have in this world, all the ‘daily bread’ we receive, we see merely as good gifts from our heavenly Father. They don’t rule us, and we can live without them as long as our ultimate wealth is found in Christ. When we see how generous he was with us, we’re empowered to live lives of generosity for those around us.