“Give us this day our daily bread”
Summer is probably the time of year I get more bread in my life than other seasons. I mean, what is summer without all sorts of creative sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and who can forget – pizza at the beach (the bread that doesn’t discriminate against a variety of toppings) I can eat pizza any time of day – hot or cold – although my husband isn’t a fan of the cold version.
But, I also get fed more spiritual “bread” by taking walks, going to the beach or a nearby pond, smelling the fresh fields after a summer rain, and walking barefoot on the ground. I need daily bread – physically and spiritually – in order to grow in my faith. And the toppings are the variety of ways I get to “taste and see that the Lord is good.(Ps. 34:8)
The line in the Lord’s Prayer about daily bread is one that many Americans take for granted literally and forget about spiritually.
As Americans, many believe they are in the land of opportunity, a land of abundance including food – and that is true – for some, but not all.
Our daily bread is not just about daily sustenance for our bodies, but also spiritual nutrients that feed our soul. I’ve been guilty of eating something because it tasted good and because it made me feel good (thanks to the sugar and caffeine found in things like chocolate).; however, it is the steady or daily diet of ‘what I want” instead of “what I need” can have detrimental effects on my health now and for the long term. Too much sugar gives us a fast rush and then can leave us sluggish. Too much caffeine can also give us a jump start and then can leave us dehydrated.
The same can be said of my daily activity or inactivity. If I daily do only want “feels good” and shy away from the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and staying in the Word – I can grow sluggish in my faith and find myself dehydrated by the lack of living water in my life. Moving our physical selves helps our bodies function well and grow; moving our spiritual selves helps our beliefs to function as a natural part of our daily lives and thereby grow.
It’s no coincidence that Jesus tells us He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35) – that when we come to him we will never be hungry or thirsty. That means, seeking Jesus daily, we won’t hunger for things that make us sluggish and won’t be as quick to turn to that which denies us the spring of living water from within.
Even with Moses, with hungry people in the desert, manna was provided – a bread called “what’s that.” We don’t always recognize bread when we see it – didn’t think of pizza, did you? And we don’t always recognize those God incidences in which we get to worship, praise, ask, seek, and lean upon the sumptuous grace of our Savior.
There are only a handful of times in my life when I have not had a meal because there was no food. It’s hard to give thanks when we don’t SEE the provision, but God calls us to trust him. That’s why we pray, “give us this day our daily bread” – what which we need to survive, that which we need to thrive.
As we say grace before eating a meal, let us be thankful to God for the food we have. May we also remember those who don’t have food in abundance, asking God how we can give out of our abundance. For when we all become physically and spiritually fed, we are that much closer to the Kingdom of God.