December 12 - LD 50, Day 3: Our Daily Bread
by Rev. Martyn McGeown
Luke 11:3 - “Give us day by day our daily bread.”
The fourth petition does not simply concern bread, but daily bread.
This reminds us that we must pray every day for our bread. Daily bread means enough bread measured out in an amount sufficient to feed us for one day. Christ is teaching us in this petition to look to God every day for a fresh supply. We never get to the point where we become self sufficient. We must never make the mistake of the rich fool in the parable who said, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). He did not pray for daily bread; he did not even pray for yearly bread!
The Israelites learned the lesson of daily bread in the wilderness. Every day, God supplied fresh manna from heaven, but only enough for one day. God commanded the people to gather only enough for one day, and He warned the people that they may not store it up or hoard it. The only exception was the Sabbath day—then they could gather enough for two days to avoid working on the Sabbath. The Israelites disobeyed. Some tried to hoard the manna, but it bred worms and stank. God did this to teach them that they must rely on Him daily for their needs. The Israelites were slow to learn.
We also find it difficult to learn this lesson, because most of us do not live from one day to the next wondering where the next meal will come from. Most of us have cupboards and freezers stuffed with provisions which could last for weeks and even months. We find it difficult, therefore, sincerely to pray for daily bread, but that does not change the petition: God might give us more than daily bread, but Christ instructs us to pray only for our daily bread. The danger we have is that, whereas we gladly receive an abundance from God’s hand, we become accustomed to plenty and will become discontented and grumble when God reduces our rations later.
Nevertheless, we must not feel guilty when God gives us more than daily bread. We must not squander it foolishly, but be wise, faithful stewards of it. It is not wrong for us to use prudent foresight—to buy our groceries in advance and to plan for the more distant future—but we must not hoard God’s provision selfishly and live like misers. Even in our affluent society, we do live on daily bread—how easily we can lose everything we have stored up for the future: a thief, a power cut, a fire, a flood, and it is all gone!
Do not, in an age of abundance, lose sight of this truth: we rely on God for every morsel of food every day. The wise man Agur understood this: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Prov 30:8-9). God knows exactly how much food we need each day. Let us trust Him and pray.
Give us this day our daily bread!