PFOA: Give us this day our daily bread

"Give us this day our daily bread". This does not seem to strike a chord with most of us. Instead we are faced with decisions on what to eat. But with these words, Jesus is thinking about all our physical needs: food, shelter, health, occupation, etc. and we are to ask God for them.

The Baptist Catechism of 1689 states that "Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." Glorifying God is our priority. But we need to be alive to glorify Him. King David said, "For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?" (Ps 6:5) "Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?" (Ps 88:11). It is only in this life that we have the opportunity to glorify God, to testify of His goodness and grace, and to be witnesses to the gospel of salvation to the lost.

But to be alive and stay alive, we need our physical needs met. In order to "make a living", conventional wisdom says "get a good education in order to secure a good job that can provide for a comfortable lifestyle". So we pray "God, help me to get into a good school, help me to pass my examinations and get good qualifications and help me to get that job with opportunities". We seek a "helpful" God. But Jesus teaches much more that that.

We do not just ask God to help us. We ask Him to give, and in doing so, we confess that we are fully dependent on God. The Apostle Paul asked the Corinthians (and us), "What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Cor 4:7). Everything we are and have, our lives, every breath, food for sustenance or enjoyment, our work and ministry, family and friends, comes from God and is sustained by Him. "God helps those who help themselves" is a popular saying, but it has no Biblical basis.

"Give us this day our daily bread" can be paraphrased as "Give us today bread sufficient for just this day". We are to daily ask for His provision for that day. Its like the newspaper. We have to get it each day with the news of the day. Getting two or more copies does not get us any more news. Tomorrow we will have to get the newspaper again for the news of tomorrow. Daily we must come to God to ask for His supply, of food and other sustenance, for health and strength, for wisdom to make decisions and right choices. We acknowledge our total dependence on God.