A simple request…”Give us this day, our daily bread”. For many around the earth today, a desperate prayer. But many of us reading these words have never recited these words out of desperation or necessity. In other words, if God didn’t provide the food, we would go hungry. This is one of the prayers that Jesus told His disciples to recite in response to their request, “Teach us how to pray”. Historically, when Jesus walked the earth, the quest for food and water was a daily burden and struggle. Modern methods of agriculture that provide large quantities of food and advanced city infrastructures that pump clean water available at our fingertips, did not exist. In Biblical antiquity whatever sustenance could be secured came from the land each individual toiled upon by the sweat of their own labor. Through His instruction Jesus was encouraging a people that they could rely on God the Father to provide for their daily needs. The prayer did not eliminate the need for each person to do their part of the work, but as often is the case with Jesus, He was teaching about more than what appeared on the surface of His words.
Shortly after miraculously feeding 5000+ people, the gospel of John states that the people were, “…intending to come and take him by force, to make him King…” (John 6:15 NASB). The modern reader of this account may be impressed by the scope of the miracle and miss the impact this had on the poor and needy masses who were actually served. For example, I would be grateful if someone picked up my dinner tab. I always appreciate someone helping me to save a few bucks and treating me to a free meal. I would have a largely different perspective if someone gave my family food when we literally had nothing to eat for days. It is no wonder these people wanted to make Jesus their king!
It is at this point that Jesus says something to the crowd that has life changing power for those who heard His words then and those who read them now. “Do not work for the food that perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal” (John 6:27 NASB). For the desperate poor, who heard these words, they may have wrongly assumed that Jesus was going to continue to feed them as He had the day before. For those who read these words today it may seem like a nice sounding sentiment that also begs the question, “where is the money going to come from to feed my family?”
Jesus was not declaring his intention to duplicate his miracle by feeding the masses bread and fish each day of their lives. He was also not implying that we do not have to work jobs to provide for ourselves and our families. What Jesus was challenging them and us to consider had to do with our priorities and perspective. Believe in Jesus Christ. Seek His will first. Trust in His goodness. Rest in Him.
I could expound on these four areas but for this space, I am going to let the scriptures do the talking. If you are finding yourself chasing things that do not satisfy, please deeply consider what the Creator is speaking to your heart today:
- Peace eludes you? Nothing seems to satisfy?
“Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come buy wine and milk, without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen that you may live…” (Isaiah 55:1-3a)
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NASB)
- Anxious about life? Worried about having what you need? Seeking security that evades you?
“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Fahter feeds them. Are you no worth much more than they? And which one of you by being anxious can add a single minute to his life’s span? ….But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25-27,33 NASB)
- Wondering if God is truly good? Does He really love me? Does He have my back?
“If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32 NASB)
“…casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
- Feeling like if you don’t make it happen there is no way out? Cool on the outside, churning on the inside?
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NASB)