Our Daily Bread

I’ve been thinking about the Lord’s Prayer a lot lately. It’s been a running audio track in my head that’s been begging for more in-depth study.

I see the Lord’s Prayer, not as an example of what we should do with our lips — not just to memorize and recite — but as a measuring stick by which we can ask ourselves, “Do I live in a way that my attitude towards life matches Christ’s attitude?”

One line jumps out this morning: Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11)

The wisdom of asking God for our daily bread didn’t start with Jesus’ example to the disciples of how to pray — all the way back in Proverbs, we can find this mention of our daily bread.

Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 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

How often have we yearned for wealth and prosperity, and despised the blessing of daily bread God has already provided for us? I’ll raise my hand to that – I’m instantly guilty, every day.

I love this question from Marty Schoenleber at Trinity Church, because it’s been the question I’ve been repeatedly forced to answer since becoming self-employed, and has made the Lord’s Prayer, or at least one line from it, starkly real in my own life.

In what do you trust? If you can’t trust God with your daily bread, are you really trusting in him for everything else in your life?

Poverty vs. Wealth?

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. (Proverbs 15:16 ESV)

This verse, more than any other verse in the Bible, has caused me a lot of confusion in my business pursuits.

It’s easy to read this verse and associate being a Christian or fearing the Lord with poverty. It’s also easy to assume that it’s wrong to be wealthy, and that wealthy people have strife and don’t fear the Lord.

These ideas can attack and discourage a desire to be in business for personal profit, and can introduce a feeling of guilt when the cash comes in.

What I’ve missed is that this was written to the son of Solomon, the wealthiest heir in the ancient world. Solomon is warning his son against abusing his position and power, and pleading with him to worship God first, not money.

It’s not saying money is bad. It’s saying that wisdom/fear of the Lord is much more valuable than wealth alone.

Here’s the take-away for me: Wealth in the hands of a man who fears the Lord is a very good thing. It’s something we should not be jealous of or strive against, and it’s a good thing to aspire to. But the most important thing is the fear of the Lord, not wealth, in whatever life circumstance we find ourselves.