It was near the end of a three-on-three basketball battle, and my older cousin had the ball. He was crouched low, facing down our opponents, dribbling the ball through his legs, eyeing our three teenage foes. Before making his final move to the basket, he confidently stated what, for me, is a now-infamous phrase. He said, "I play this game for bread and meat; if I don't win, I don't eat."
I don't remember what happened next. Did we win? I have no clue. This particular game was only one of a thousand games of basketball we played as teenagers. The game results I have forgotten; however, the phrase has been forever etched in my memory.
It was an epic moment. It brought such a sense of urgency to the game that, literally, no one but the six of us remotely cared about.
In actuality, not one of us has ever been paid a dime to play basketball. None of us were anywhere near good enough at the sport to turn it into something that could provide any type of income, but it was fun to think about basketball being so important to us that it could serve as our primary means of provision. It added a sense of value when we imagined this game that we love being "our daily bread." Basketball as our ultimate source. Not so much.
Here's the big question of the day, what or who is your ultimate source?
When Jesus' disciples asked Him how to pray, He first took them through a theological framework. He shaped this instructive prayer to start with reminders & revelations of the central and foundational facts that our God is Holy and that He is the King of all things who's Kingdom is waiting to invade every part of our lives. No big deal, right? Above it all, however, He reminds us that this God should be approached as a perfect, Holy Father.
After establishing us an accurate theological framework, Jesus brings the prayer down to earth and get's into real life on the ground, beginning with the most foundational of issues facing every human being, the problem of provision.
Jesus deals with the central question that drives us all. The question is, "are we going to be OK?" Furthermore, "how are we going to be OK?" This is the quintessential human problem, the problem of provision.
In the early 1940s, psychologist Abraham Maslow posited that all humans, regardless of culture, ethnicity, background or economic situation, are unilaterally driven by the same fundamental issues or "needs." Maslow held that there are five categories, the most pressing and primary of them all is that of basic provision. Food, water, shelter, safety. "Bread and meat."
Enter the Lord's prayer.
When Jesus invites us to ask God to "give us our daily bread," He is inviting us to align our ultimate source of provision in Him, to trust his power and goodness to provide for our basic needs, and then, to rest in Him, not worrying about tomorrow.
Right after His discourse on prayer, Jesus speaks right to the heart of the issue of provision in the sermon on the mount.
He said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:25-27
In other words, trust in God to provide everything you need. He then goes on and invites us to trust God for the stuff beyond daily bread, our clothing, our meaning, our significance, trust God for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
This simple prayer, if fully embraced in faith, has the power to not only connect us to a source that cannot fail us, but in turn, disconnect us from all fear, striving, scarcity, worry, jealousy, coveting, and every other vice that comes from a deep-rooted sense of fear.
Trust God. He cares for you more than you know. He's got you and will give you everything you need. It's going to be OK.
God not only can be trusted to provide our daily bread, HE is our daily bread, and He is more than enough.
"This, then, is how you should pray:
"'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13