Sunday, March 15, 2015

Daily Bread and Daily Grace

By Allen White

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

We thank God for our daily bread, but how often do we ask for it? In the transaction from sweat to paycheck, it’s easy to forget that God provided the means, the ability, and the opportunity for us to make a living.

The idea of daily bread goes back to the Israelites in the desert. God provided manna for them in a place where no other food was available (Exodus 16). There was only one restriction – the manna had to be collected daily, except for the Sabbath. If any manna was held in reserve, it would be spoiled by the next morning (Exodus 16:19-20). Why?

Why couldn’t a few industrious Israelites open a manna shop and sell manna to those who would prefer to write a blog rather than collect manna? The transaction could even be taxed and provide a little side income for Moses. But, there was a point in doing it themselves.

By collecting the manna, each Israelite touched something every morning that had originated from God’s hand. Every day they recognized God’s provision. Every morning they awoke to find evidence of God’s love once again.

As much as physical nourishment is important, Jesus after a 40 day fast refused to turn stones into bread, saying, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4). Later, He referred to Himself as “the Bread of Life” (John 6:35). Bread is far more significant than just being food.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He took bread, and He blessed it saying, “This is my body which is broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). Bread sustains our bodies, but God’s grace sustains our souls. Jesus said that bread represented the grace He gives through His death on the cross.

“Give us today our daily bread.” Lord, we recognize that our livelihood and our well-being rely on You. Our peace of mind and our ability to live for You come from Your hand, not from our efforts alone. Rather than crediting ourselves with successes and blaming God for deficits, we should recognize that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17).

May we never look at sandwich the same way again.

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