Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Like every sentence in this prayer, this one has great significance. Of course, I am grateful that I don’t have to worry about having enough to eat. Of course, I pray that all people everywhere will have enough. I don’t want anyone to be hungry. Let’s consider another message in this short sentence.
Jesus, the man, was raised to be of the Jewish faith. Since childhood, he would have heard the Exodus story. God gave manna for the hungry Israelites in the wilderness. The manna floated down to the ground like snow. “Gather enough for one day,” was God’s command. Regardless of how much they gathered, when their manna was measured, they all had the same amount. God commanded that they eat it all and save none for tomorrow. Still, some saved manna for the following day. When morning came that hoarded manna was full of maggots. (Exodus 16) The lesson for Jesus would have been, “Take only what you need. Trust that God will provide for tomorrow.”
Jesus told a parable to help us understand the concept of stopping with enough and trusting your future to God. A rich landowner harvested a bumper crop. You’ll find it in Luke 12:16-21. I leave it for you to pick up your Bible and read it.
Maybe that’s the lesson for us in North America who speak this line of our Christian Family prayer. Lord, help us to want, to take, to ask for, only what we need for today. Lord help us to stop with enough. Help us to trust God for tomorrow. Do we need ten pairs of shoes? Do we need tables laden with food, or just enough for today? Do we need to stuff ourselves ‘til our stomachs hurt? As we ask God, “Give us this day our daily bread,” help us to learn that enough for today is God’s gift, God’s intent. Taking seriously this line in the Lord’s Prayer, can change our attitudes, our shopping habits, our ability to give thanks. There is a big lesson here. It may be hard to accept, let alone live. The Good News is we can do it. Thanks be to God.