Let us pray: Dear Savior, tonight we come to give You our thanks and praise for all of Your wonderful blessings! Where would we be with You providing family, home, jobs, income, food, clothing, health, good government, and most of all: a soul at peace with You through the forgiveness of all our sins? Tonight we join our voices in honoring You for being so kind and gracious to us. May we never take any of our blessings for granted. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR GOOD AND GRACIOUS KING!
TEXT: Matthew 6: 11: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Fellow Redeemed Richly Blest Children of God:
Some of you might wonder where I get special occasion texts to preach? Obviously on Sunday morning the lessons provide the source material. But, sometimes on special days I pick other texts which dovetail into the theme of the season. Where do they come from? Do I page through my Bible until I hit upon one? No. If that were the case, I’d still be in the study deciding what to preach upon. Instead, I have a little book that I inherited from my father-in-law entitled: “Biblical Texts” by Nesper. It has a whole host of lessons for each season of the church year and each holiday. It is an old-fashioned “search engine.” And it works!
Earlier this week I looked at Nesper and found the section entitled: “Harvest and Thanksgiving.” On the 6th page of that section these familiar words of Christ recorded by St. Matthew were included. Also, in pencil was the date: 1961. Apparently my father-in-law preached on this portion of the Lord’s Prayer when my wife was 4 years old! Since she obviously doesn’t remember that sermon, and since I haven’t devoted a whole sermon to these words in my ministry, it’s time. Yes, it’s time to:
EAT THIS BREAD WITH JOY!
Everyone knows the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Even at funerals I’ve observed those who haven’t been in a church in 20 or 30 years mouthing the words when it is said. But, do we really think about what each of those blessed words really mean? Do we ponder their richness, or do we just take them for granted? Well, to be honest the answer is: both. It depends on how they hit us, what’s happening in our lives, and what we’re focusing on at that point in time.
Dr. Luther gives a wonderful explanation of daily bread for us. First, he reminds us that God provides it to everyone—believer and unbeliever alike. Even though most tomorrow will end up thanking themselves for their good fortune and patting themselves on the back for their hard work which put food on the table, the fact remains that it really was God, not them that did it. I’m reminded of Israel in the wilderness. Remember how God provided them with manna for 40 years? He filled the tummies of those stiff-necked folks—including some who walked away from His grace—with the most nutritious food ever known to humankind. God does the same today in America. The question is: Do we acknowledge His goodness and thank Him first and foremost? Well, when you say this prayer from your heart, you are! You do! And that, my friends, is why we can eat all of our daily bread with great joy. For a gift received is always more special than a wage earned.
Dr. Luther goes on to inform us that daily bread isn’t just physical food. No, it includes much, much more. Listen to his words: “Daily bread includes everything needed for this life; such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, fields, cattle, money, goods, God-fearing spouse and children, faithful servants and rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, order, honor, true friends, good neighbors, and the like.”
Every time you recite “give us this day our daily bread” you should think about all those items and more! What joy each of them brings! And where would we be without them? Without food and drink, we’d die. Without clothing we’d freeze, or be ridiculed. Without shoes we’d limp a lot. Without a house we’d suffer from the elements. Without a home—the love and joy that a loved-filled abode brings—we’d be sad. Without cattle, or personal possessions we’d feel left out. Without money and goods we’d find it hard to survive. Without God-fearing spouse and children home life would be filled with discord and emotional strife. Without faithful workers and government officials life would be physically and emotionally draining. Without good government life would be chaotic. Without good weather, yes even snow at times, life would be boring. Without peace, violence would reign. Without health, well life would not be worth living. Without order most of us would not survive because we aren’t strong enough. Without honor you could not trust anyone. Without true friends, depression would ensue. Without good neighbors you’d never feel safe. And most of all, without Christ Who gives us these blessings and an appreciation of them with His love for lost souls, we’d take them all for granted and become dissatisfied thinking that we needed more, more, and more.
Christians are the happiest and most well-adjusted people on this entire earth. Why? Because we know that we deserve nothing from God, but that He has given us exactly what we need at exactly the right time. That’s faith, isn’t it? Faith in His goodness. And we have it because He proved His goodness to us in sending us a Savior from apathy, materialism, and ungratefulness. He sent us Christ Who gave His life to save our souls. In Christ you and I have it all. O we may not be as rich as some, or have as large a spread tomorrow as Martha Stewart. We may not enjoy perfect health. We may not have the dream house to live in or friends that never disappoint. Yet, we have it all! We have happy, grateful, thankful hearts. May that warm glow fill you far more than tomorrow’s turkey, as you continue to Eat This Bread With Joy! Amen