Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

A friend on Facebook shared a link to the article: “Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)” and it got me asking questions. Is it wrong to be satisfied? By being satisfied I mean to not be driven for more, to not constantly push to “be all you can be?” Our culture says it is wrong to be satisfied, we should always be striving to improve, to achieve more, to accomplish more.

Only working a 40 hour week? You are a slacker. Using all of your vacation time? You are a slacker. Wish you didn’t have to work all the time? You are lazy. Not saving the world? Then you are not using the gifts God has given you.

In my opinion churches ought to counter this cultural belief, but instead we feed it equally well. You’ve got to participate in more small groups, give more service, and give more money so that either more people can be hired or larger buildings can be built.

If you don’t do these things, you aren’t truly part of our community. Instead of offering relief from a world obsessed with more, the church fully participates within and often encourages the cultural norm.

In Luke 11:1-4, Jesus’s disciples ask him to teach them how to pray, and Jesus answers in what we commonly call The Lord’s Prayer. In verse 3 it says, “Give us each day our daily bread.” In other words, please provide us just what we need for this day.

You remember the words, don’t you?

The prayer goes on in verse 4, “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.” In most churches the word sin is used in this verse, I find it interesting that in Matthew’s version of the Lord’s prayer, this verse says “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12). While we seem to want to equate “debt” with the idea of our debt to God, or rather sin, most likely Jesus really meant debt.

In the time of Jesus debt, most often in the form of having your land foreclosed on in trade for food and other things one needed to live, was a big issue. The authorities, be they Jewish or Roman, in their obsession for more forced those around them into debt. It seems to me that Jesus is encouraging us to forgive debts on others, just as God has forgiven our debt to him. Or may be put another way, stop being obsessed with more, and be satisfied with “enough.”

In Matthew 6:25-34 we see Jesus telling us to not worry. Jesus says, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” In Jesus’s day marks of wealth included what you ate and what you wore. If you listen closely enough, I think you hear Jesus saying, “give up your obsession with more and rejoice in having enough. Be satisfied. Peace be with you.”

For more about The Lord’s Prayer, I recommend “The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer” by John Dominic Crossan.

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