Our daily needs – not greeds – Matthew 6:11

Needs not Greeds

The Lord’s Prayer provides much more than a simplistic  model to pray by. Allusions abound to the Old Testament; with each verse containing wisdom and direction for one’s life.

Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11)

Context is important when studying Scripture. Both original setting and canonical contextual criticism (Scripture interpreting Scripture). This verse is a direct allusion to Proverbs 30:8. It is in the Proverb itself that we gain a greater understanding of the Lord’s request to His God and Father.

Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Prov 30:8).

How many of us relate to the wanderings of the Messiah during 1st century Judah? Often without shelter, void of material blessing, no horse drawn chariot or continuous feast. The Lord’s life was simplistic to say the least. On death only the shirt on His back remains. What He brought into this world is what He left it with. No treasure stored on earth, nothing to rust or be eaten by moths.

Carson (1984) states”the prayer is for our needs, not our greeds. It is for one day at a time (“today”), reflecting the precarious lifestyle of many first-century workers who were paid one day at a time and for whom a few days’ illness could spell tragedy”

Much of earth still operates in the same manner – one day at a time. Where the basic necessity of life is pleaded for on a daily basis. It is here that a total dependency on God and God alone is nurtured. The insight of the Proverb tells us more. Do not give me an abundance that I may become blind, conceited, a lover of wealth, no, give me only what I need, not poverty or riches, Father – give me my daily bread.

The Apostle Paul knew exactly what Christ meant. “But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that” (1 Tim 6:8). How far from such contentment most of us in the west are. And yet the less we have the less worry, the less stress, the less concerns we seem to have. Is it not in wanting more that we stress more? Achieving Joy, peace and patience, and thus contentment, point to God’s Spirit (Gal 5:22), not that which is material.

Being content is not about chasing what the world says we need, rather, being content is trusting in what Christ tells us we need. Asking for neither poverty nor riches but simply our daily bread. How wonderful the simple things in life become. Consider the clouds in a blue sky, the birds singing, the trees waving in a breeze, the air in your lungs.  A return to simplicity is a return to God. Scientists already know the Earth can not sustain man’s obsessive greed for more. There is just not enough resources to satisfy that hunger.

When we truly turn too Christ and follow, as Francis of Assisi did, as Mother Teresa did, as Paul, Peter, John and Andrew did. As millions in the third world do. We learn we need less and less; it is then the presence of God becomes more and more. Our prayers become what we need rather than what we greed.