“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. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’"
Back when I was in college if somebody said, “bread” they probably meant cash. I guess that makes some sense because bread is the “staff of life,” the mainstay of the human diet, and money is what you need to get something to eat. For a college kid, there was really no practical way to get by without a little bread in your pocket. Bread made the world survivable. And here in the Lord’s Prayer we find Jesus teaching His disciples to pray to God the Father for bread. Heavenly Father, would you please provide what I need to sustain my life. So often we just take for granted that the last meal we ate won’t be our last meal. Starving isn’t something we even think about in our time and culture. Probably in the first Century – or in other parts of the world in our own century – it was a far greater possibility. And because of that I suspect people were somewhat more grateful for what they had.
There are two things that I want to bring out here. First, Jesus called Himself the “bread of life” and said: “He who comes to me will never go hungry.” When he said this Jesus was talking about the total eternal sufficiency of what He provides for us through our faith in Him. We need nothing more than Him to sustain our life forever. We don’t have to worry that the life He gives will run out or that we will need to add to our supply.
Secondly, the prayer adds the word “daily.” Did you ever wonder why? This portion of the prayer, phrased in this way, is an acknowledgment of the faithful provision of God that sustains your life day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. We always have our eyes fixed on the future, saving for the kid’s college, preparing for retirement, hoping we have enough to pay for next summer’s vacation. But as Jesus taught His disciples to pray He wanted them to understand that we can and should trust God to provide everything we need all the time.
In Luke 9:1-3 Jesus called His disciples together, gave them the authority and power to minister, and then sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God. Then comes the interesting part . . . He said: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” If you or I were organizing a mission trip we would probably email everyone going a list of all the things to bring. But not Jesus; He knew that whatever they needed would be provided when the need arose. He also knew that if they were going to proclaim the kingdom of God, they needed to learn how to live as citizens of that kingdom. So do we. So do your work, fulfill your calling, remember that honest work honors God, and faithfully trust God’s faithfulness -- daily.
--- Pastor Keith Andrews