(My apologies for forgetting to blog on”Give us this day our daily bread” on the Lord’s Prayer last week. Here it is)
My adorable grandsons (DeeJay, age 9; Aiden, age 5) came over for breakfast the other morning. As is our tradition, I made “Grandpa’s Epic Pancakes.” Actually, the pancakes themselves are not so epic (just a cup of Krusteaz and water), but it’s how we make them – together, as a group project. They pull up a chair to the oven griddle. I pour out the pancake batter into fine, round circles. DeeJay flips the pancakes. Aiden butters the pancakes. Voila! Epic Pancakes. Add a few little smokies, some chopped strawberries, and you have “Epic Breakfast” with Grandpa Doug and Grandma Letty!
While making the pancakes, I asked DeeJay, “Do you know where Epic Pancakes come from?” “From the mix,” he replied. “And the mix?” I asked. “From wheat.” “And the wheat?” “From seeds.” “And the seed??” Pause… “From God?” “Correct!”
Then I prodded some more. “And how did we get the pancakes?” “You bought the mix from the store.” “And how did I get the money?” “From paper?” (oops!) “No, I did something to get the money – and I didn’t rob a bank!” “You worked for it?” “Yes, and how was I able to work for my money?” “You use your body and your mind.” (that answer actually took a little bit of prodding). And finally I asked, “And where did I get my body and mind?” “From God!” “Correct, again!”
It registered. DeeJay saw that every blessing we have ultimately comes from God. The materials we need for food. The ability to work. The charity we receive from others. As the Apostle James says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of the Heavenly Lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
So when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” it wasn’t a demand born out of “entitlement” (which, I think is the number one sin issue in our American culture), but out a sense of proper perspective and humble dependency.
What brings food to our table? It’s not because of our hard work or ingenuity. It’s not because of our job, our boss, our company. It’s not because of the economy or the government. Like the air we breathe or the heart that pumps life giving blood in our veins: It’s all because of God, who graciously provides – whether we thank him or not, whether we realize it or not.
Whole Life Worshipers realize that everything comes from God. And, in response, we give everything we have to God and for God. It’s the proper perspective – “in view of God’s mercy” (Romans 12:1). So when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” it is an expression of thanksgiving and perspective. We know that yesterday’s daily bread came from His gracious hand.
However, it is also a prayer of humble dependency. We ask God to provide for our daily bread. Our life savings could be wiped out in a moment’s notice. We can become disabled in a blink of an eye. We are one natural disaster or one internet glitch away from being homeless, destitute and impoverished. It is total naïvete to think there are any guarantees for tomorrow.
But, as followers of Jesus, we do not fret or worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34). Rather, we pray. Just as we recognize that God is reason why we have provision today (and it’s not because of what we’ve done), so we can have total trust that God will provide for us tomorrow – come what may.
So as the four of us sat down to “Epic Breakfast,” we all knew why we bowed our heads in prayer before eating our meal: We have an Epic God who loves us and gracious provides us our daily bread (or pancakes, if Grandpa, DeeJay and Aiden are cooking).