In HOPE

  In HOPE 6.34                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

A recent book with high recommendations is The Spirit-Driven Church by Timothy Robnett and Allen Quist (Cook, 2006; 235 pages). The authors focus heavily on ministry as partnership with God moreso than the mere application of market-savvy principles.

Hope Happenings

This past Sunday, a memorial service was conducted for Mr. Jeff Wilson who served this University for the past 29 years. He was our Library Director for over 15 years, then professor and Provost of Information Technology. He passed away after a battle with cancer, at too young an age. We will miss him.

Current Series

This series explores the significance of the Lord's Prayer for our lives. Today's column is week five in the series. 

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

Pray then in this way: "Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." (Matthew 6.9-13)


Our Daily Bread

I don't need daily bread. I've got plenty. And what I haven't got, I can run to the shops and buy. If I'm short of cash, I've got credit. I need long-term security, not daily bread.

But just when this part of the Lord's Prayer seems exclusively applicable to those in deep poverty (people without a refrigerator, a pantry, or a bank account), a shaft of light breaks through the fog of my thinking.

None of the Lord's Prayer makes sense when we live self-sufficient and comfortable lives. And this brief petition (midway through the prayer) jolts us awake. It exposes our independence and raises a question: Does our lack of daily need contribute to a daily neglect of the Father?

As too many of us can attest, occasional attentiveness to the Father produces spiritual lethargy, and those with least need often prove to be least attentive. If today's provisions are already in hand, we can get back to the Lord later. But that's precisely what elevates the significance of these seven words. 

"Give us this day our daily bread."

Just as we're about to ignore it, the utterance challenges whether we ever need the Father. Is He a pleasant acquaintance, or the very breath of our daily existence?

Jesus confronts our constant efforts to build barns and store up for our future. Daily bread, provided by the Father - much as He sent manna for 40 years while Israel dwelt in the wilderness - ought be enough. But, for most of us, it's not.

Our Superannuation (Australia), 401k's and 403b's (USA), Social Security and other Retirement Plans grow increasingly important. Investments, savings, nest-eggs, life insurance, equity, capital, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can distract us from lives of daily devotion and dependence.

"Give us this day our daily bread."

How do the affluent -- who take comfort in their abundance -- pray such a prayer? Jesus' inclusion of this modest appeal aligns with His earlier statements in the same sermon: "Blessed are the poor in spirit ... those who mourn ... those who hunger ... those who are persecuted." (Matthew 5.3-10)

Just as I'm about to skip past this unnecessary request for daily bread, I realize that this simple statement presents both an indictment and an invitation for me -- for us. May we hear it, and respond to it.

In HOPE -

David

 

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For back issues of "In HOPE" (2005, 2006) go to http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.