“Give us today our daily bread.”
Not tomorrow’s bread. Not the bread for next week. Just today, the bread we’ll need for right now.
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, this line brought to the forefront of their minds a particular part of their story as Jews.
Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egyptian captivity, and suddenly everyone realized they were in the desert with no food or water. So God told Moses that the Hebrews would have food, but they’d have to depend on God for it. Daily. Every day, the Hebrews would carry their jars out of their tents and collect manna. Manna was not the name of a type of grain or fruit. It’s a word that literally means, “What is it?” There are all kinds of theories about what it tasted like, if it was good, what it looked like. But the most important thing about manna was that it was what the Hebrew people needed. So they filled their jars with the stuff and ate it. They ate it every single day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And they were grateful, because they were hungry.
But there was a rule about collecting manna. You couldn’t collect more than you needed for that day. I imagine some of the Hebrews began to get nervous. They asked themselves, “What if God decides to stop sending us food? Don’t we know that as quickly as it comes, it can be taken from us?” So maybe they decided to stock away some manna for the next day, just in case. As they slept securely, knowing they’d saved food for their families for the next day, the manna stored in their jars spoiled and they found it full of maggots the next morning.
Every day, God would provide. And every day, the people had to trust their Provider. Only on the day before the Sabbath could they collect two days’ worth of food. Because God had commanded them to rest and not labor on that day. So when they went out to collect on that day, there was a double portion. And on the Sabbath there was no manna to collect. God would provide, according to God’s timing and purposes.
Daily bread. Collect only enough for the day and no more. And when that’s gone, we trust that God in God’s faithfulness will provide once again.
I have to be honest. I’m really not good at trusting God for my daily bread. I like to plan. I want to plan my budget for the month, my meals for the week. So what do I do when I can’t plan, when I don’t know what might happen from day to day or week to week? What do I do when my plans have turned to dust and I have no idea what life looks like a minute from now?
I’m learning that I trust God for my daily bread. Not my weekly bread or my monthly bread. I trust God for daily bread. And I’m learning that my faithful Provider always sends something unexpected to sustain me.