I have to pause
periodically and catch myself when I complain about not having the newest
gadget, or the right tool, or the shiny object that caught my eye. In that moment I need a gentle nudge to
remind me that I have more than enough, more than what is necessary for me to
make it through the day. Actually, if I
was really paying attention and doing a deep assessment of my circumstances, I
would drop to my knees in prayer and repentance weeping over the fact that I am
wealthy compared to the 80% of the world that lives off less than $10 per day. In some respects, I am more in tune with the
material concerns of life than I am with the spiritual. Which means that I still have room to grow,
spaces for God to transform in me.
Realistically, humans have
been concerned about the material world for some time. I do not know what it was like for our fore
bearers who were hunters and gatherers.
A romantic view could lead one to believe that it was a time of peace
for most humans. Your main work was to
gather enough meat, berries, and grains for the day otherwise you might spend
time studying the seasons and patterns of nature. Somewhere though, that all changed and maybe
it was due in part to the rise of productivity and monetary systems that
coalesced in urban populations. Marketplaces developed and marketing became a
tool to move wears. Also at some point
in human existence anxiety, fear, and even obsession over wealth and power rose
to prominence in our psyche. We
developed tools and systems that made it possible for us to gather more than
enough and thus we no longer had to worry about our daily bread.
In the modern world, this
has accelerated at a rate to where most of us reading this are self-sufficient
enough that we do not rely on anyone for “our daily bread.” Our existence is well in hand, maybe even
secure and insulated from market forces.
If this is the case, then why do we need God and why should we have to ask
God to give us “our daily bread?”
Haven’t we reached the point that we are the reliable providers for
ourselves? Which brings me back to the
point that I am wealthier than 80% of the people who live on this planet with
Maybe that is why in the first
century church document called Didache,
the Apostles taught the followers of Jesus to pray the Lord’s Prayer, not once
per day, but three time per day. It was
a clear reminder that the stability we think we inhabit is an illusion. It does not take much for each of us to go
from riches to rags, from wealth to poverty.
So maybe we should have a spiritual awakening now instead of in the
midst of a crisis because in this moment we have the margin, the space to be
thankful and generous in ways poverty cannot accommodate.
I invite you to take time
and read each of the scriptures above as you move to reflect on the questions
below. Take time to consider what it
means for you to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Lastly, I pray that God bless the reading of
God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.