Friday, June 1, 2012
QUESTION #145: In most of my prayers I ask God for things I need each day. These are legitimate needs. (I’m not asking God to make me a millionaire, just to help me pay the mortgage.) Is God really concerned about the necessities of my life? “Give us each day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3). What is this daily bread Jesus spoke of, tucked inside the Lord’s Prayer? A loaf of warm Italian bread on my doorstep every morning? That would be nice. Bread is a staple of every culture. From flat bread to yeast-filled loaves, grain has been mixed with water and oil and placed over a fire by every civilization. What’s the first thing a restaurant brings before the meal? Bread. (Okay, maybe Mexican restaurants don’t, but those chips are made from grain. They’re just fried in oil.) But how about a slight change to the daily menu: “Give us this day our daily mocha chocolate chip ice cream” or “Give us this day our daily beluga whale caviar”? Those are luxuries, not necessities. Sorry, God does not promise those. Bread is a valued necessity, tasty and welcomed, but certainly not extravagant. Jesus tells us to ask for the necessities in life, but does he promise to provide them? Soon after this plea for daily bread, found also in Matthew 6, Jesus presents his famous “Don’t worry” passage: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (v. 25). God takes care of birds, flowers, and grass and provides the basics they need to exist (vv. 26–30). Why not us? Aren’t we more important than a barn swallow, a multiflora petunia, and a blade of Bahia grass? You bet a loaf of sweet sourdough we are. In that statement comes a promise from God to provide his most important creation on earth with food, clothing, and drink (vv. 25–34). The necessities once again. Jesus tells us to ask, then promises to give us the basics we need to survive. So don’t worry; be prayerful. God has something wonderful for us baking in the oven. Can you smell it?