“The only opportunity you will ever have to live by faith is in the circumstances you are provided this very day: this house you live in, this family you find yourself in, this job you have been given, the weather conditions that prevail at the …moment.”
A few years ago, I was a bread deliveryman. I would get up around 1:00 in the morning and drive up to the bread depot, load my truck and drive it out to the assigned grocery stores on my route. It was good, honest provision for my family, and hard work.
I remember being amazed at how much bread was consumed daily by all the people in our cities. It didn’t take long for certain types of bread to just fly off the shelves of the stores I served. People want their daily bread. They don’t just want it, it is a necessity.
Manna from Heaven
In the story of the Hebrew Exodus in the Bible, God shows up in a big way for His people as they journeyed through the desert and wilderness towards their homeland. The people, exhausted and hungry from their flight from Egypt, begin to grumble about what they left in Egypt compared to what they are experiencing now.
Moses, the leader of the people, is instructed to tell the people that God is going to rain down bread from heaven. The bread, or “manna” (meaning literally “What is it?”) is to be picked up daily…every morning. Except on the sixth day, they are to collect enough for two days, so that they can rest on the Sabbath, or 7th day, as commanded by God.
If they were to try and save the manna and use it beyond the day it was provided for, it would stink and be filled with maggots. Some people even tried to do this and, sure enough, they had smelly maggoty bread the next day.
The purpose for this was to teach the people to trust God for their “daily bread”. There would be no saving for the future, just being satisfied with having enough for today. Can you see the process that God was trying to bring the people through? It’s not enough to say you have faith, you have to live it out in daily practice.
Our Daily Bread
God knows what you need.
Can I encourage you for just a moment today? Read that phrase again.
God knows what you need.
There is not a hair on your head that God doesn’t know about. Whenever your stomach rumbles in hunger, He is aware. Whenever you are afraid, He understands. Whenever you are anxious about the future, He is there. That looming debt? That impending financial burden? That overwhelming sense that this is the end? God knows what you need. And He stands ready to provide it for you. Your daily bread.
The thing about Jesus’ words in this prayer is that they aren’t that appealing to an American/Western mindset. We here in the West pride ourselves on our ability to plan out our provision. All the way to retirement we have it completely mapped out, secure and strong is our future. Laid out all perfectly as long as we are able to work and get that job that provides for that end game of retirement when we don’t have to work anymore. We like to know about tomorrow’s provision. We think we are entitled to know how tomorrow is going to work out. And if it doesn’t, we get angry, flustered, stressed, anxious, and fearful.
But the example of living a life of faith in Scripture isn’t laid out like that.
I know I’m going to ruffle a few feathers by saying this, and don’t get me wrong. The basis for living a life of faith is learning how to live it day by day. We cannot allow ourselves to be consumed with the worries, fears, and problems of tomorrow. We don’t even know what those things will look like tomorrow.
Yes, saving for retirement is something that should be done. There are plenty of Proverbs talking about saving up for a rainy day. But we are not promised our next breath. We need to live every moment as if it were our last. We can only do this if we aren’t looking so far into the future that we are missing the present.
How To Pray This Way
I want to get intensely practical today regarding this. It wasn’t until I began to walk in risky faith that I actually learned this lesson myself. And believe me, it is a difficult path to go.
Let me give you a few practices that will help you learn how to live a life of daily faith.
- Fast regularly. Nothing shows you how small your faith is in a more intense practical way than fasting. By intentionally giving up the use or the consumption of food, entertainment, social media, or whatever tends to occupy your mind, you find yourself twitching like a bug that’s been stepped on. You need to just STOP.
- Silence/Solitude. Again, the same intentional-ity needs to be given to just taking a 24 hour period to stop, hit the pause button on your life, and realize that the world will keep spinning around without you in it. Schedule a weekend or a day to just spend in a hotel room, or our in nature, or just get away from it all and be. Stop “doing” and just “be”. You’ll be able to hear better.
- Embrace Risk. In their book “The Faith of Leap“, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch contend for a new way to look at faith, embracing a theology of risk. (Theology is just a big word for how we think about God). If we truly understand what it is Jesus is saying in this prayer, asking God to give us “Our Daily Bread”, then we will recognize that along with a trust for daily provision comes a sense of uncertainy and even risk, regarding our future. What does this risk look like? It will be different for everyone. It may require a job change, a lifestyle change, a giving up of some comfort or convenience that you felt you couldn’t live without, and trusting God to fill the void that you’ve been filling with your own personal idols. Embracing risk may mean traveling somewhere you’ve never been before, moving from one local to the next, opening up time in your schedule that may take you away from your work or even your family (within reason) for the sake of the Kingdom.
God is inviting us into a faith that teaches us to live no longer depending on the things we’ve held on to up until this point in life. The challenge before us is to learn how to live every day obediently moving forward into the life that God is calling us into, creating spaces and risking our reputations, our comfort, and our own security for the sake of the coming Kingdom that we are praying for.
When we pray, “give us this day our daily bread”, we are asking for so much more than just provision. We are asking God to allow us entrance into His story as active participants in the advancement of His eternal Kingdom as it forcefully moves upon the hearts of humanity with love, grace, and truth.
“Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.”
Welcome to the adventure of living in daily faith.
How did today’s thoughts challenge your thinking today? What could you change about your daily habits, your daily lifestyle, or your life in general that would put into practice this idea of trusting God for today’s provision?
Could you let go of what you perceive to be some future provision for the sake of knowing God better by leaning heavier on today’s provision instead? Read that one again. Write your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.