our daily bread

Growing up with brothers, you learn a few lessons very quickly. 

First, be ready to roll down the window at any moment during a car ride.

Second, as soon as they become bigger than you, utilize your gift of tattling rather than trying to solve a disagreement with physical contact.

And third, eat fast.

You see, when we sat down for dinner and Mom put fresh crescent rolls on the table (this was before someone ruined all the fun and broke the news that Pillsbury was not nutritious) we were only allowed to take one at a time. Once you ate everything on your plate, then you were allowed seconds. Well, each Pillsbury can makes eight crescent rolls. There are six people in my family. Do you see the dilemma? 

So while it was natural for my brothers to scarf down their food like typical boys, I learned very quickly that if I didn’t do the same thing, I would miss out.

As kids, our mindset was never about rationing the food so we could have leftovers and make Mom’s life easier. Instead, when we sat down at the table we were worried about one thing – eating enough so we weren’t hungry going to bed.

As a kid, having enough of something meant that it met our needs at that very moment. 

We had enough food if everyone walked away from the table with full bellies.

We had enough money if you could buy what was needed that day.

But somewhere along the process of maturing and growing up, we began to believe that having enough of something equated to having a surplus.

Our nation is used to surplus. Extra is just a way of life.

But, here’s the thing, when it comes to provision of needs, surplus and extra are not guaranteed.

In Exodus 16 we find the Israelites about two months into their escape from Egypt on their way to the Promise Land and believe it or not, the situation is unfolding just like your family road trips do. 

It tells us that the whole community was grumbling against Moses and Aaron saying, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.

Parents, sound familiar? (I can hear my mom giving a resounding “Amen” right about now.)

After finding freedom from slavery, walking through the parted Red Sea, and finding safety on the other side, they all question whether or not God is going to provide them with food to eat.

How often do we do this? Day after day He provides, and yet we still question where our next meal, paycheck, or bout of strength is going to come from.

But here’s what I love, God hears them, answers them, and provides…no questions asked.

God tells Moses that in the evening He will give the people quail and in the morning He will give them manna. They are given clear instruction to only gather what is needed for that day, and nothing more, except on the sixth day they are to gather double the amount and prepare it so that on the Sabbath they are able to rest.

“The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.”

Those last few words are what we need to really focus in on…”just as much as they needed”.

They didn’t end up with what they wanted, what made them comfortable, or loads of surplus – they got what they needed that day.

And I love this…“Then Moses said to them, ‘No one is to keep any of it until morning.’ However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.”

It even tells us that some people went out on the seventh day to gather manna even though God had already provided for their needs that day.

We have been a people wanting surplus and extra from the beginning of time. Why? Because it makes us feel comfortable. It provides predictability and stability. 

But what happened when the Israelites tried to create leftovers from their daily portion? The food went bad. 

In Matthew 6:11 we are taught to ask for our daily bread.

So, what happens when we try to ration our daily bread? Things go bad.

If we skimp on eating, we get hangry (and leftovers never taste as good).

If we hold back on paying something off, interest accumulates and it becomes more expensive.

If we hold out on giving generously when He asks us to, we miss a chance to be Jesus to someone who needs it.

If we go through our day trying to ration our patience, kindness, and love so we have extra for tomorrow, we miss the opportunity to represent who He is to the world.

Each morning He promises to give us exactly what we need for the next 24 hours – nothing more and nothing less – and it is our job to be good stewards of those resources. To use them fully to honor Him and to trust that tomorrow when we wake up, He will refresh the areas of depletion to the right amount.

If we lived a life of surplus and extra when it came to our daily needs, what use would we have for Him on a daily basis? 

Believing that every 24 hours He will show up and provide is an exercise of trust and faith.

It leaves us desperate for Him. Lost without Him. And hungry to see Him show up. 

It reminds us on a daily basis that without Him, we have nothing. That He is our daily bread.