Give us this day our daily bread, - Matthew 6:11 (ESV)
After a week of warm spring weather that got people excited about their spring cleaning, temps cooled back down and spring cleaning was put on hold, at least the stuff that had to be done outdoors. But you know, spring cleaning isn't the only thing that occurs in the spring. While many people are busy with their spring cleaning, old John McDonald only wishes he had time to spring clean.
As a farmer, John is a very hard worker and each day he is up long before the sun comes up reading the bible, feeding over a hundred different animals, milking his cows, and collecting eggs, Each evening you'll find him doing the same things well past dark. During the rest of the day you may find him doing any of a hundred different jobs.
During this time of year John is busy getting ready for the planting of crops on his nearly 1200 acres of fields. For the past few weeks he has been going over his tractors from top to bottom making sure they're in tip top shape. He's also been traveling his fence line mending breaks in the fence so his cows won't get out but that's not all. John has also been busy sampling his soil, and ordering fertilizer, pesticides and of course seeds.
Sometimes you can find John busy doing research at the local library on farming techniques and trying to learn about the long range forecasts. He's also been found at the church doing some praying for rain as he has been learning from his research that there might not be enough rain this coming year for his crops and the ground is already dry.
In a couple more weeks he'll start working in his fields from the time he gets done with his morning chores until it's past time to start the evening chores and some days hes might even be back out in the fields after he's done with them.
Every year it's like this and every year you can hear him complaining to his daughter Tracy about how there just isn't enough time in the day. And every year he tells her that he needs to sell off part of the farm so he won't be so busy and will have time to do something yet when summer arrives and things slow down a little bit the first thing John does is go looking for more land and animals to buy.
When his daughter asks him why he needs more when he said he wanted less he just starts mumbling about never having enough when it comes harvest time and how he can't stand to see his barns half full. “Besides,” John would add, “How can I help the poor if I don't have enough.”
How much is enough? We live a society where we tend to think we need more and more and more. Maybe it’s because the society at large has come to believe that more is all there is. One hundred years ago it was figured that the average American had 70 wants. Now, a similar survey showed his grandson had nearly 500 on his list. (Beveridge Paper Co. - Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations)
Gertrude, a missionary on an island in Haiti is quoted as saying “Most American Christians don't need God.” She goes on “American Christians have everything they need, If they don't pray or read the Bible for weeks, it makes little difference in their daily lives. They still have food to eat, a place to sleep, regular income. They don't need to practice their faith every day.” We end up focusing on the extras, the deserts. In a report I heard on the radio some time back it was noted that Americans have smaller families, bigger houses and need extra space to store their stuff. Do we really need more?
Just before Jesus gives us the model prayer, He tells us in Matthew 6:8 that your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (ESV) While God may know what we need Jesus teaches us to pray in Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread, (ESV) So, what does it mean to pray for our daily bread and are we ready to?
Through out the Bible God tells us that He wants to give to us both our needs and our desires.
- Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (NLT)
- Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (ESV)
Martin Luther wrote in 1529; What does daily bread mean? Everything that nourishes our body and meets its needs, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, yard, fields, cattle, money, possessions, a devout spouse, devout children, devout employees, devout and faithful rulers, good government, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors and other things like these…”
Should we pray for our daily bread so we can spend it on our wants? Many people want what they don't need and need what they don't want. Luke 12:15 says Beware! Don't always be wishing for what you don't have. For real life and real living are not related to how rich we are. (TLB)
Solomon was a man that had it all. Listen to what he learned about our wants - Ecclesiastes 5:10-13 Whoever loves money will never have enough money; Whoever loves wealth will not be satisfied with it. This is also useless. The more wealth people have, the more friends they have to help spend it. So what do people really gain? They gain nothing except to look at their riches. Those who work hard sleep in peace; it is not important if they eat little or much. But rich people worry about their wealth and cannot sleep. I have seen real misery here on earth: Money saved is a curse to its owners. (NCV)
In Matthew 6:31-33 we read Don’t worry and say, ’What will we eat?’ or ’What will we drink?’ or ’What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you. (NCV)
When we pray Give us this day our daily bread we are saying
- We will trust the Lord to provide.
- We will, be content with just my needs.
If you are not happy with what you have, how could you be happier with more? - (Complete Book of Zingers)
Here's Something To Ponder
- Do you really need more or do you just want more?
- Can you be satisfied with what God gives you?