Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

There’s a lot of debate about this portion as it’s my understanding that the Greek isn’t entirely crystal-clear. That is an area of discussion for the Greek scholars. I am not one. However, I will tell things as I see them in that I think all would agree that this part of the Lord’s Prayer is talking about trusting God for our sustenance. 

It’s interesting how our society has shifted. I considered just now over this that this is the only place in the Lord’s prayer where it talks about provision for physical needs. For many of us today, this has become the main thing. How much talk went on in our last election about the economy? Yet you take a work like Plato’s Republic and there is only one paragraph dealing with the economy in there.

There cannot be a denial of physical needs as Jesus makes clear later on in this chapter at verse 24. He tells us not to worry and points to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. God takes care of them. Won’t he take care of you? Consider how Luke 12:32 tells us in fact that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. If only we could realize the truth of these passages and embrace them!

The need was to be supplied I believe on a day to day basis. Of course, this made sense in a society where most people were day-wage earners. If you wanted to be fed that day, you went to work. This doesn’t have anything against our principle of saving up resources as we now live in an age of safety-deposit boxes.

Still, even in our day and age, we must remember that all that we have comes from God. As Jesus told Pilate, he would not have that authority unless it came from above. As I look around me, I must remember that all that I have is a gift of God. It’d be tempting to go into my room and look at all the books and talk about the mass library of information I’ve built up, but I honestly have to look at them and thank God that he’s allowed me to have this blessing. Let’s remember what happened when King Nebuchadnezzar went on his roof and spoke of how great his kingdom was.

Notice also that God does care about physical needs. Our souls are important friends, but our bodies are too! I recently spoke with a friend of mine on the phone and we were talking about girls and he said “Well, I don’t want to talk about looks because that’s shallow.” I had to correct him. There is nothing shallow about a guy wanting a beautiful girl. God made them beautiful for a reason. There is something shallow in that being the only criteria that matters, but being attractive is important in finding a spouse. To say the physical body doesn’t matter is not a Christian position but a gnostic one, one of the first heresies the church had to deal with. 

In fact, if we tell someone to be of good cheer but don’t help their physical needs in any way, then we are not being Christian. The motto of Booth, founder of the Salvation army was “Soup, Soap, Salvation.” First you fed the people. Then you cleaned them. After that, you told them about Jesus. It has to be that order.

This part of the prayer is to humble us and remind us that all the good we have comes from God. He supplies us on a day to day basis and that’s the day we need to live in, today. Too many of us spend our time living in yesterday or tomorrow. Today is the time where we are living and God is just as much here as he is anywhere. Let’s live today and count on him to supply our needs.

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2 Responses to “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

  1. Leonhard Says:

    What would this mean for a Christian who is worried about our environment? Is it okay to pump up and burn tons of oil, even though it is a finite resource? This is just an example mind you, but we do pollute our environment in different ways, and we consume natural resources which are finite. We can’t yet siphon off solar power efficiently, and we don’t know what the final consequences of our industrial pollution will be.

    Is this a ‘get free’ card from all, most or some considerations about managing resources and curbing pollution?

    “How much talk went on in our last election about the economy? Yet you take a work like Plato’s Republic and there is only one paragraph dealing with the economy in there.”

    Are you saying our focus on economy is bad? We live in far more complex society than Plato lived in.

    “If only we could realize the truth of these passages and embrace them!”

    So far you seem to say that a Christian will never suffer needs. Somehow “God will provide”, at least enough for survival. This is a falsehood though, since Christians in need will still die of hunger, disease and all other completely natural reasons. Same as the next man. Is the passage purely spiritual then? Or is this a strawman?

  2. apologianick Says:

    Hi Leon. Let’s look at your question.

    For the first, no. Christians are to be caretakers of the Earth. I don’t share the environmental concern at the same level you do, but around here, we do recycle, especially since I know the place I drop off my recyclables gives the money raised to a charity I support. The prayer must be understood in the larger context of Scripture.

    I also do think our focus on the economy is bad. Benjamin Franklin said that when the voters find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the Republic. We should have a good economy, but I believe a good economy comes best from having good people.

    And no, a Christian will suffer needs. The apostles knew this well as they underwent much suffering. It’s also not just about starvation. It’s simply asking God to take care of someone and not to worry about where things will come from. For the Christians who are not getting in third world countries, chances are they’re not seeing this as a violation of the prayer. God will provide either in this life or he will provide by bringing them on to the next. The idea of daily bread is simply to trust God.

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