Matthew 6:10-11 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
This snippet of the Lord’s prayer immediately brings to mind Y2K when I read it with food as a lens. Do you remember what it was like? I started my first youth ministry job in college in the fall of 2001 and one of the parishioners still had his “bunker” stockpiled with canned goods. The end was coming and some of us were going to be ready to weather the storm. Wasn’t this the way Joseph was thinking about dealing with the coming famine in Egypt? Isn’t it just common sense to plan ahead?
Well, there’s planning ahead and being prepared… and then there’s stockpiling and hoarding. In our modern world the difference between the two is often fuzzy. Is having an IRA hoarding or planning ahead? Depends on who you ask. Isn’t it smart to follow the financial guru’s advice? What does the Bible have to say about money anyway? Turns out a lot.
Generous Giving has a nice list of them all. Their list is broken down into these principles:
- God Owns Everything, and We Are His Managers
- God Is Exceedingly Generous
- Wealth Is Fleeting, and Accumulation Is Dangerous
- Giving Is the Antidote to Greed
- We Must Live Today in Light of Eternity
- Our Hearts Follow Our Money
- God Prospers Us Not to Raise Our Standard of Living, but Our Standard of Giving
- We Must Withhold Nothing from the God Who Gives Everything
- Our Giving Must Reflect God’s Agenda
That’s a pretty good summation of biblical teaching on wealth and money. I’ve also talked before about Jonathan Bonk’s biblical principles for the Righteous Rich.
But I think Jesus sums all of this up in our verse today. This is what Shane Claiborne calls a “Theology of Enough.” Later in this chapter is a passage on worry that we will tackle later. It seems bound up with this prayer. We should desire God’s order of things here on earth and ask only that we have enough. The problem is that we can’t tell the difference between enough and too much. We don’t know what things are genuine needs and what are luxuries.
I’m not going to prescribe how you should spend or save your money. I’m no Dave Ramsey and that’s the Spirit’s job, not mine. I will say that as my family has faced a significant downsizing, we are acutely aware of the ways we have failed to live a simple life. We are constantly worrying about tomorrow and often ignorant of the abundance there for us to experience and enjoy each day. We have to constantly reorient our minds and our lives to the radically different order of God’s reign.
So what do you need to let go of to rely more on “daily bread” and less on ourselves and our wealth?