Monday, July 10, 2006

what is my daily bread?

When Jesus prayed for His daily bread, he really meant it. Being homeless and a vagabond, I believe He literally meant "bread" and I believe He literally meant "today". He didn't have a house. He didn't have a pantry or a refrigerator. He didn't even have a source of income. No...instead, He had to literally pray for his "daily bread" in order to survive.

So what does that mean for you and for me? Because most of us have our daily bread well under control. So much so that, above our daily bread, we can afford a couple cars, a house or an apartment, and way too many dvds (that one may just be me). And we end up worrying about things like: "Well, I really would like a new car and we could probably afford to buy a newer one if we squeeze the finances a little and move stuff around" or "Big screens are on sale at right now at Best Buy...we can't pass this up, can we?" or "The new Will Ferrell movie came out today on DVD, but I've got no cash on me. I suppose I can just put it on the card."

So, how do we pray for our "daily bread"? Seriously.

I suppose we could always just "spiritualize" the passage, dull its edges, take it out of its historical context and effectively justify our way of life. We, Christians, are real good at doing that. But what if we didn't this time?

Jesus meant something physical, essential...the bare minimum for living. He prayed for bread. And prayed for just enough for today. How does that translate to us?

Someone will probably tell me that all that stuff could be taken away in the blink of an even if we don't realize it, we are still dependent on God for the basics of life. That is true, believe me...I saw that first hand. But still. I've got today's bread already taken care of. Heck, I have rest of the week's bread lined up, as well as all of next week's too. So how do I pray that prayer?

What is my daily bread?

Maybe Jesus was right when He said that it is easier for poor people to live out the lifestyle of the Kingdom of God than it is for rich people to. And lets be honest here. If you are reading this, that means you have some sort of roof over your head, access to a computer, electricity, probably clean clothes on your are rich. And so am I. Now, I'm not saying I want to be poor. But maybe I do. I don't know. How else do I know the humility and dependence of having to pray for my daily bread, and how else do I experience the blessing of its arrival?

Any thoughts?


greg said...

These are big questions... I'm not sure I know how to ask for provision because you're right... I've never been in want. There's never been a time in my life when I haven't had everything I need.

I've been wrestling lately with just exactly how much suburban guilt I'm supposed to feel. I mean, I don't think I'm necessarily not supposed to have anything and I'm not sure I should just go live on the street... but the other side... I'm not sure how good I should feel about it either... I don't want to be like those prosperity gospel guys on late night cable saying I deserve all that I have and that Jesus wants me to be rich-ah hallelujah amen!

So yeah... I have no answers... just questions.

Actually, I have an answer for you. God told me to tell you that he wants you to be poor. You should give me all your DVDs. Especially that Will Ferrell one. Seriously.

Reggie said...

Bill, you are correct. When Jesus said it is easier for the camel to go through the eye of the needle...well, he said what he meant.

I spent this afternoon with a man who flew into town. He flew in with his wife and two men from the church he attends. He flew in on his private plane! He is also passionate about Jesus, and wants to do all he can to see people come to know the one who loved him so much! And he admitted how hard it was for him to follow Jesus when the money came.

Frankly, it is VERY difficult for "westerners" to understand this passage. That is why we spiritualize it. It is also why I have enjoyed spending 10 days in the same clothes in a remote Russian town (and the shower I found in my Moscow hotel). I love going to countries where I cannot find the bathroom without a LOT of help. It reminds me that I am not in control. Unfortunately, it is also easy to forget what I learned when I get home and walk into BestBuy!

There is one thing though. Don't feel guilty because you have much. God allowed you to have it. He also said that a LOT is expected from anyone he allowed to have much. OUCH!