Oliver’s Yelp

“Give us this day our daily bread” Matthew 6:12

I am tired…all five of my grandkids have been visiting. Really, they are wonderful kids and I delight in their different personalities, gifts and ceaseless energy.

The kids range from nine months to ten years old. Depending on their maturity, they have different ways to express their needs and wants. Of course, Oliver, the baby, has only one way to let us know he is hungry. I bet you know what that is. His life is uncomplicated by the many unnecessary ideas and distractions we take on as we age. He is completely dependent on his parents to feed him—and he has the lungs to prove it.

In recent weeks we have looked at the early words of the Lord’s Prayer, which are all about the Father—guarding His name, His reign as King from heaven, His rightful will on earth as it already is in heaven. In today’s verse Jesus teaches us how the Father touches our most basic needs.

For Oliver and us bread is a “daily” need. Daily was an unusual word, and no doubt Jesus had in mind the necessities of life, not just food. Praying this in the morning directs us to dependence and alertness for that day; praying it in the evening sets the stage for the day to come.

Jesus’ hearers must have been thinking the question we have, too—And what about tomorrow? The Master Teacher answered it later in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore, do not be anxious, saying ‘What may we eat?’ or ‘What may we drink?’ or ‘What may we put on?’ ” This is not an invitation to forget to harvest the fields or go to work or save like the wise ant for the winter (Proverbs 6). Since we have a choice, let us chose to be an ant and not a sluggard.

Jesus used everyday things to teach us and to point the way to greater things. The lesser things are the life-essential things that come from God’s hand. Later, in contrasting manna in the wilderness with Himself, Jesus would say “For the bread of God is the One coming down from heaven and giving life to the world” (John 6:33). Linger there for a year or two.

The Lord’s Prayer shows us—in the good sense—we never stop being a child. Joy comes as we are dependent instead of obsessive in creating security; trusting the Father instead of worrying; asking instead of assuming. Most of all, every slice of bread, every meal is a reminder of the everlasting life Jesus offers to those who trust in the Bread of Life for eternal life—our greatest need and joy.

Oliver’s yelp is a heavenly chorus.

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