November 4, 2015 Ponder
Both the Matthew 6 and Luke 11 accounts of what is often called “The Lord’s Prayer” have a line that fascinates me: “Give us this day (or each day) our daily bread.” In the midst of acknowledging Creator God, admitting personal sin and aligning our thinking with God’s will, we are taught to request His provision of what we need to survive – for this day.
In our great country, we have people with more earthly possessions than they will ever use in their lifetime. The thought of having just enough food for today is not a part of their reality. We have other people who have no provision for today. If someone does not take pity on them, they will spend tonight outdoors and hungry.
I live somewhere between those two extremes. In a short period of time, I could easily use up all of our resources. But I feel secure in a warm house with plenty of food for many days ahead. And if all that were taken away, I have confidence that friends would provide a meal and a place to sleep indoors – at least for tonight.
I am pondering the relationship of extreme wealth, severe poverty and modest provision in light of the prayer asking God to provide food for today – this day. The person who is hungry and homeless definitely needs to make this request. But do I need to do that? And what about the very wealthy? Did Jesus have a specific audience in mind, or is this model prayer for all of His followers?
The rule of interpretation determines that Jesus gave this example of how to pray to His immediate audience. By application, we can believe that the model was intended for all of His followers. I doubt that anyone would question the necessity for every person, rich or poor, to acknowledge Father God, honor His name and desire that His will be done.
Only a foolish or arrogant person would see no need for forgiveness. There is also an obvious need for help to avoid yielding to temptation to do evil. So, if the model prayer is relevant for everyone in its other parts, it would seem logical that the need to request “bread for today” would be applicable as well.
All of this brings me to the conclusion that the model prayer is more about the attitude of our heart than about the specific requests. If my heart is in a right relationship with God, I will admit that regardless of how much or how little earth stuff He has entrusted to my management, none of it is secure. It can all be gone by the end of the day. So I need to request – and give thanks – for the provision of bread for today. If I develop the habit of doing this while living with abundance, I will be prepared to do it when I find myself with no option but to trust for His provision – for this day.
It amazes me how having a relationship with Jesus has a way of changing our thinking about many things – including the fact that earth stuff is temporary and passing. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, and when we acknowledge Jesus as “the Way, the Truth and the Life,” our perspective changes regarding what has lasting value and about Who has the final word on everything.
Pastor Bill Ehmann