We’re taking a look at each phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, one at a time. This week’s phrase is, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
7 Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die. 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me. Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. – Proverbs 30:7-9
“Dear Lord, please don’t give me too much money. Amen.”
Have you ever prayed that? Probably not. But that’s exactly what a Christian man named Agur prayed for in Proverbs 30:7-9. He asked for neither poverty nor riches; just his daily bread. He realized if he had too much, he might turn his back on God and say, “Who needs him?” And if he had too little, he might turn his back on God and begin stealing. He wanted help in fighting both temptations, so he simply prayed for his daily bread.
What wisdom! What contentment! And many of us would also say, “What a strange idea!”
In America, we lose perspective because our standard of living is so high. One time I asked our 7th-8th grade members of our church if they thought someone earning $60,000 per year would be a wealthy person. They laughed. They scoffed. Not one student thought that would be a lot of money at all. And yet the truth is that today, someone making $60,000 per year is wealthier than 99.98% of the world’s population. If there were ten thousand people in a stadium, someone making $60,000 annually would be one of the two richest people there.
Most of us have so much more than just what we need for today. And yet most of us also crave more than what we currently have. Why is there such a lack of contentment? Why is more than enough no longer enough? The problem isn’t what’s in our bank account; the problem is what’s in our hearts.
Step back. Take a breath. Gain some perspective. Beg God to make you as content as Agur was. Mull over what God has already generously given you, and stop brewing over what others have that you don’t have. Thank God for faithfully offering you daily bread for your body, full forgiveness for your soul, and so much more in addition.
He doesn’t owe us one nickel. And yet he gives us everything, every day.
Prayer (written by Martin Luther, about the words, “Give us this day our daily bread”):
We thank you, Father, for giving us all that we need for our lives on this new day of your grace. Keep us from being ungrateful or forgetful of the gifts you give us, and root out from our hearts all envy or greed for the gifts you give others. Teach us to find contentment in your promises of love and care, and deliver us from the delusion that it is our own power and work which keep us alive. Preserve our government, our families, and all useful structures of society through which you bless us. And just as you remember us, dear Father, so help us to respond when we hear the cries of the needy and the helpless. May we not be coldhearted and unconcerned when others lack daily bread. Amen.