As we transition to the Fourth Petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” our beloved Dr. Luther reminds us: “God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all people, though sinful, but we ask in this prayer that he will help us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanks.”
Indeed, as the Scriptures acknowledge, “For he (the heavenly Father) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt. 4:45). The difference between the just and the unjust is whether they realize where their blessings come from, and whether they receive the same with thanks.
Our Lord Jesus has an interesting way of teaching us how to pray. We keep offering petitions that God will fulfill whether we pray or not. For example, we ask for his Kingdom to come, but it will come regardless of our prayers. You can rest assured that God’s name will be hallowed, his Kingdom will come, his will be done, and daily bread will be given. But do we recognize our dependence on God?
Of course when recognizing that God gives daily bread we are talking about more than a loaf of bread made of wheat. As Luther explains, “Daily bread includes everything needed for this life, such as food and clothing, home and property, work and income, a devoted family, an orderly community, good government, favorable weather, peace and health, a good name, and true friends and neighbors.” Although not an exhaustive list, Luther’s list is a good one!
I find it interesting that our Lord taught us to ask for “daily” bread. He did not instruct us to ask for a week’s supply, a month’s supply, or a year’s supply. I guess he would like us to be daily dependent and thankful for his provision. The tendency otherwise would be to take these things for granted. Little wonder why affluence can be dangerous…
Since You Asked…
What does the Pastor’s Stole signify?
(the stole is the colored strip of cloth that loops around the back of the neck and hangs from both shoulders) The stole represents a yoke such as would be used to link and employ an ox with a plow or cart. When a work animal is yoked to a task, that animal comes under the rule and guidance of its master. As Christians we are to be yoked to Christ (cf. Mt. 11:28-30). We are to fear, love, serve, and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. The Pastor’s stole is therefore not only a sign of ordination in the Lutheran Church, but it visibly reminds the whole congregation of our servant hood to Christ.