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Fourth Petition Sermon: Our Daily Bread

May 17, 2018

Mom used to make bread from scratch.  Those were the days!!!  Nothing like walking into that warm old farm house on a cold winter’s day and the smell of fresh baked bread.  It was like dying and going to heaven.  So… my favorite part of the Lord’s Prayer is, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

But… there’s so much more to these words of the Fourth Petition then home-made bread.  Let’s broaden our horizons… and our prayer life.

What is the Fourth Petition?  Give us today our daily bread.

What does this mean? God surely gives daily bread without our asking, even to all the wicked, but we pray in this petition that he would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What, then, is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that we need for our bodily welfare, such as food and drink, clothing and shoes, house and home, land and cattle, money and goods, a godly spouse, godly children, godly workers, godly and faithful leaders, good government, good weather, peace and order, health, a good name, good friends, faithful neighbors and the like.

For today I’ll address four important areas of our daily bread.  I’ll present them all as “Why” questions.  So, let’s get started

Why ask at all?  When was the last time you prayed for liver and oat meal???  God gave it anyway didn’t He???  What about Cheerios, potato chips… or a boiled egg for that matter?  God gave it anyway!  Or… motor oil or transmission fluid?  “O Lord, please give me 5 quarts 10W­30 for my Chevy, and make it synthetic!”

Let's say it altogether… “God gave it anyway…”

When was the last time you prayed for mascara or eye liner… or ear swabs and wash clothes?  Say it with me, “God gave it anyway!”  

When it comes to daily bread there is so much in this life we don’t ask of for from God… but He just keeps on giving… and giving… and giving… and giving… day after day… week after week… month after month… year after year… “God gives it anyway!”

And just think of all He does to keep the wheels of production turning!!!  Farms keep growing crops and producing food and drink as one season turns into another.  Factories keep spitting out the daily products we so take for granted.  The wheels of commerce keep turning… making these things available for our consumption, even as we complain about our income and prices!!!  Each day is like a magical dance being staged and God sustains it all.

Did you know the Bible says God gives even to the wicked without their asking?  It says, “God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  Look around, people are receiving their daily bread from the One they hate!  They receive even from the “One they Curse”.  Freely God gives even to the ones who make fun of His church!!!

So, why should we pray for things God gives anyway???  The answer’s pretty simple.  Jesus teaches us to pray for daily bread because he wants us to acknowledge our daily bread as a gift from God.  And when we do that… WE… WE are thankful.  And thankfulness changes everything!  When you just chow down and go on your merry way without thinking you don’t thank.  And that hurts your prayer life, and ultimately your faith.  And God’s greatest and most sincere desire for you is that you know and trust in Him, and finally enter into your eternal joy in heaven.

Next question:  Why ask “today”?  Why pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”?  In our culture we are becoming so consumed with having today, we worry about TOMORROW!

I see commercials on TV advertising how much money you’ll need for retirement.  That commercial makes me worry.  And that’s not what God wants!!!  God wants us to be content with what he gives us today, so we don’t sweat the future.  I know what some of you are thinking, “Only a fool doesn’t prepare!”  Preparing isn’t the issue. Trying to control tomorrow out of worry isJesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  And God instructed the Israelites traveling in the wilderness to gather just enough manna for the day.  Why: Daily Bread!

You know, you can go overboard!   When I was building my log home in Eau Claire, someone found out and approached me about Building an “Apocalypse Shelter” in the basement.  Can you believe it?  And what about all those “Investment Scams” out there.  Why do people fall for them???  You got it… they never learned how to pray for DAILY BREAD.  And then…  there’s all those people out there overly worried about what tomorrow’s body will look like.  From YOGA to ST. JOHN’s WORT… I thought I’ve seen it all.  But I know… there’s more coming down the pike… All in efforts to preserve the beauty and function of the body.

Now, of course there’s nothing wrong with investing, and exercise and diet.  But God says, “Lose everything that keeps you from being content with God today!”  Remember the words of Jesus, Himself… “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Why ask for “our” bread?  Why not pray “Give ME today MY bread?”  Let me give you the answer right off the bat.  We should pray not only for ourselves, but also for the needs of our neighbor, sharing with him when he is in need.  Normally, God provides for us through our work.  But some are not able to work.  And others maybe laid-off or going through “hard times”.  The Bible says, “Do not forget to do good… and to share with others… for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

God wants us to share our daily bread.  You know… there’s an old saying, “What’s mine is yours.”  Say that with me… “What’s mine is yours.”  Oh… thank you… I’ll be over for supper at 5:00!  Just kidding!  But seriously, are you willing to say that and mean that? 

Remember this when you are praying the Lord’s prayer, “Our” daily bread means sharing. Not just food, but all things (in as much as is possible and in keeping with good order and safety).

We have one last WHY: Why does God give daily bread?

Here again I will give you the answer right up front: God gives daily bread not only to sustain our lives… but also to give us the means and strength to serve him.  We have a problem here my friends – a big one.  God has lavished us with daily bread and what have we done?  We’ve treated Him like an ATM machine.  We drive up, get what we want, and go off to do our own thing.  ATM machines don’t tell us what to do with the money they spit out.  ATM machines don’t make demands of us.  ATM machines don’t require us to say, “thank you.”  They just give, and we go.

Isn’t it true that this is often what we want of God???  “Give me what I need heavenly Father, and then let me go, no strings attached.”  But there are strings attached my friends.  God demands that we use the daily bread he gives us, ALL OF IT, to serve and honor him alone.  He demands it because that's what He is like, and that's what others need.  

We have not done always DONE that.  And for this we deserve nothing but his daily punishment.  It’s time to repent!  It’s time to beg for God’s mercy and grace in Christ Jesus.  And because of Jesus Christ we have it.  It was Christ who took upon himself flesh and blood, and in our place used his daily bread to honor and serve his heavenly Father.  The Bible says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.” 

Jesus was content with what he had, as little as that was, and serve His Father in heaven.  Think about this. The food Jesus ate, and the water Jesus drank, was daily bread enough for him.  It was not consumed so Jesus could go off and forget about His Father in heaven.  He ate and drank so that HE could walk many weary miles for you and me.  There was no house, no car, no twenty-first century anything!  The “Daily Bread” of Jesus was bread given him so he could carry his cross to Calvary where his strength gave out, and he died as our Substitute.  And now we are forgiven of all sins for Jesus’ sake.  Now we stand blessed in God’s presence not cursed.

And now we pray “Give us today our daily bread” so that we can serve our amazing… gracious… and loving heavenly Father until the day we eat bread at his heavenly banquet.

I pray the Lord continue to provide us our daily bread that we would be strengthened… to serve the one who saved us from our sins.

Amen.

 Fourth Petition Project for parents with children:

After supper, get your kids to stay at the table.  Get a sheet of paper and a pencil.  Ask them to trace back the journey bread took to get to your table.  Try to go all the way back to the bread’s beginning with the farmer.  Try not to forget a single step, and all the people involved, if you can!  The purpose is to share the absolute need for God to orchestrate this complex journey bread takes to feed the family, and to be thankful it ends up in our mouths!



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