Our Daily Bread

Today, May 21, 2017, is marked by many churches across the world as the "Global Day of Prayer to End Famine"  Having just finished our afternoon meal, the second of our day, which will undoubtedly be accompanied by a snack (or two), it seems strange, perhaps even unfitting, to writing on this topic.

There were certainly days when we knew what it meant to pray the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9:13) with a real sense of earnest, even desperate trust in God for his daily provision:

“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, 
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. 
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

There were those days early in our marriage, when my wife and I both had jobs with small pay and we had large debt. There were those months, when we were unemployed as I finished my Masters degree, with two small children, and we daily wondered how will we get through this. However, for the most part, we can be easily tempted to move beyond the need to pray "give us our daily bread". Or can we?

Over the years this prayer continues to be our guide, not that we feel the pressure of immediate need, rather there are deeper needs that we need to address. In order to challenge our consumption and push us in our generosity toward others we continue to pray this prayer. As we do, we are learning the value of this prayer in three particular areas.

3 Necessary Daily Changes:

1.   We must resist the concept of greed. 
We must resist the sin of entitlement. And that is not easy. But greed and entitlement are a sneaky pair. They worm their way into the core of our thoughts and cause to ignore or minimize the truth. And after taking down one truth after another; it begins to distort the way we think, causing to think that our wants have become our needs. Then finally greed succeeds in blinding us by becoming an idol, an object that gets in the way, obstructs our view of what God is trying to show us.
 We must resist greed. We must resist entitlement.

2. We must move from consumption to contentment.

Moving away from greed, begins with confession but is strengthened through contentment; as we look beyond the provision to the provider. If God is promising to provide, then we must be diligent to receive his provision.  As we learn to embrace contentment which travels along the same path as gratitude, then the Spirit of God changes our desires. Those things which we think it is impossible to live without often become insignificant.

3. We must consider the needs of God’s Kingdom. 

Thirdly, we must also consider the needs of…., not other people like us; not limited to other believers, but we must also consider the needs of God’s Kingdom. That is the context of this prayer. We are praying to Our Heavenly Father, who is holy. We are praying for His Kingdom to come upon all the earth and so it follows that as we pray for God’s provision we are also praying that He would use us to address the needs in and around us.
We must stop the growth of greed and consumption and look to be managers, stewards, conduits, distributors and channels of blessing with the provisions that God entrusts to us. 

On this day, where many pause to pray, alone or in groups so that hunger may be eradicated, may we also pray for an end to greed and consumption and the expansion of the Kingdom of God through generosity to address the needs in our communities, near and far. 

How are you learning to use your resources to help the needs of others?