“And God will generously provide all you need.  Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.  As the Scriptures say,

‘They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.’

For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat.  In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous.  And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.”

2 Corinthians 9:8-11

Emma reflects on the importance of understanding our dependence on God, and, in gratitude, living generous lives:

This is such an important line of the Lord’s Prayer, because it reminds us that we depend on God for everything we have, even our most basic needs.  When we have access to plenty of food, it’s easy to forget how dependent we are.  Praying this line reminds us that everything we have comes from God; it is something precious, which is produced as a result of a great deal of hard work by others.  It is part of the miracle of nature that we can grow a variety of foods from tiny seeds over time; food doesn’t just magically appear on the supermarket aisles!

Bread is that most basic staple food for us in the West (unless you’re gluten free) – what would we do without toast and sandwiches?!  It therefore represents food in general.  However, more than that, it represents all our basic needs, not just food, but a roof over our head, clothes to wear etc.  The phrase ‘the breadwinner’ isn’t used much now (because in most households both adults are working), but it refers to the person who brings in the money to the household.  Therefore, the word ‘bread’ can be used as slang for ‘money,’ representing the provision of our most basic needs.

After the Korean War ended, South Korea was left with a large number of children who had been orphaned by the war.  In the orphanages, even though the children had three meals a day provided for them, they were restless and anxious at night and had difficulty sleeping.  As the relief workers talked to the children, they soon discovered that the children had great anxiety about whether they would have food the next day.

To help resolve this problem, the relief workers in one orphanage decided that each night when the children were put to bed, the nurses there would place a single piece of bread in each child’s hand.  The bread wasn’t intended to be eaten; it was simply intended to be held by the children as they went to sleep.  It was a ‘security blanket’ for them, reminding them that there would be provision for their daily needs.  Sure enough, the bread calmed the children’s anxieties and helped them sleep.  Likewise, we take comfort in knowing that our physical needs are met, that we have food, or ‘bread,’ for our needs.

Let’s remember those around the world who are hungry today, who are worried about when their next meal will be, and pray for provision for them.  Let’s also commit to being part of God’s provision for others by helping those in need, through supporting charities such as Tearfund and Christian Aid.

 

Questions

For what are you most grateful today?  What have you begun to take for granted?

How today can you express thanks to God and generosity to others?

 

Prayer

Loving Father, give us today our daily bread.  Thank you for all you provide for us, our food and our homes.  Help us not to take them for granted, but to come to you in gratitude each day.  Where we or others have great need, we ask for your provision and assurance.  We pray for those who do not have enough to eat today, and for those who are homeless.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer for five friends

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.