Thursday, September 04, 2014

Our Daily Bread

           Bread is such a staple of our daily lives that we almost take it for granted - unless there is none, or it is moldy. I was nearly thirty years old before I took seriously Jesus’ call to pray for our daily bread! Before living in Ukraine and experiencing bread lines, I did not feel a strong need to pray for daily bread since I could just swing by Winn Dixie and pick it up! I said the words – “give us this day our daily bread” – when I recited the Lord’s prayer, but I never felt the power of them. I never felt I had to trust God for my daily bread.

            Jesus lived a life of poverty – he owned very few things – yet you do not get the feeling from reading the gospels that Jesus really ever did without. He spoke of “having no where to lay his head” and yet he enjoyed the hospitality of many friends. He did not have a kitchen (or the rest of the house) yet he was often invited for meals in the towns he visited. The times we are told he did without food were times he was fasting. Jesus did not seem to worry too much about where his meals would come from, rather he trusted his Father and accepted the generosity of the people he taught and healed. Jesus learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself – something he also tried to teach his disciples. Surely his prayer for daily bread, and his trust in the Father’s provision, made this carefree lifestyle possible.

            When Jesus sent the apostles out on the limited commission he told them not to take bread along with them, rather they were to trust the provision of God through the people who would welcome them (Mark 6:8-10). When the disciples suggested to Jesus that he should “send the people away” after a long day of teaching and healing, Jesus countered by saying, “You give them something to eat.” The disciples replied that they would have to spend eight months wages to buy bread for such a large crowd. Jesus taught them (and us!) a lesson about trusting God’s provision that day, as he distributed five loaves of bread and two fish to a crowd of thousands! (Mark 6:35-44) Jesus lived a lifestyle of praying for and receiving daily bread from the hand of God, which he then freely shared with all those around him. He taught the same to his disciples – “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:9)

            If we want to fully mature in Christ perhaps we should pray like Jesus – “Give us today our daily bread.” And once we receive it, we should like Jesus, take it, bless it, break it and give it! No one would be hungry in such a world…

- Kenny Payne

No comments: