Summary: Give us this day... is the focus of this week’s message

Why the title Good Eats? It’s the title of a show on the Food Network in with host, Alton Brown. Brown is a culinary version of Bill Nye, the science guy. His goal is for us to capture a bit of the why that goes into the taste we all love. Now, look at what we call "the Lord’s prayer". The only physical request made in it is the seemingly simple, "give us this day our daily bread." But that’s where we’d be wrong. Like Brown I hope that I can show us that this seemingly simple request is actually much deeper and life changing than we first thought.

Here are some things to start our thinking about this verse. Bread was probably the most common food for the people in Jesus’ day. It was more than a staple; it could often be the meal. Nothing gets more central to life than this. Today that’s not true. So let me ask us what is central to our life. What is it that we need daily just so we might make it through today?

The idea of "daily bread" would have reminded the Jews who heard this of the manna which God provided them when they were on their cross-country trip. Except for Friday you got enough for one day. Take more and you got a smelly, nasty surprise in the morning. It had rotted and become maggot infected.

I want to suggest that for most of us today this statement is not about literal bread or even food in general. It is about whether or not we will rely on God for those needs that are primal and foundational for our survival. It is about trusting God to meet our needs; not provide for our dreams. It is about believing that God loves us enough to take care of us and not about making sure we’ve done everything we can to secure our future. It’s about our love of God that looks expectantly to a loving Father rather than existence caught up in trying to survive one more day.

One of my best friends who I would swear had a saving relationship with Jesus Christ walked away from Jesus in the mid-seventies. Why? Because when he got a job that paid $17 an hour and once he could afford his car, ski boat and other toys he came to believe he didn’t need Jesus. Know anyone like that?

Dr. David Hubbard wrote, "Luxury without conscience, indulgent selfishness without spiritual or moral concerns—that is a passport to judgment." [1] Dr. Hubbard wrote that in his commentary on the prophet Amos. Those Jews had the same problem my friend had. They didn’t need to trust God for their daily bread. They didn’t have to rely on the Lord who led them from Egypt to make ends meet. They could rely on their own money, their own energy, their own abilities and talents. God became an after thought.

Money, wealth, other such things have very much supplanted the idea of bread when it comes to what is needed. In a 2005 survey chief financial officers ranked cell phones (44%) and laptops (39%) as indispensable for those in financial planning.[2] Even in China it’s reported that the internet had become indispensable for youth. Guo Liang, an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, reports that in China 90% of people who have access to the internet see it as indispensable to their lives especially where entertainment is involved. "90 percent of the Chinese young people play on-line games frequently", according to Guo’s report.[3] The Pew Research Center did a survey about Gen Next which are those who are 18-25 and compared it to those 26-40. Almost 20% more of the younger group said their generation’s most important life goal was to get rich. [4]

You need to understand something about God and His word. God does not condemn Wealth. Wealth can be a sign of God’s blessing but not always. What is condemned is a selfishness that hoards, believes it owns, and sacrifices what is right for money. Such a life is a life lived to oneself and not God. Such a life has stopped relying on God and has begun to rely on its own abilities, luck and hard work. And that is easy to do when we believe we are owners rather than managers, entrusted friends rather than owners.

That is why James and Amos seem harsh. They are addressing those who have no use for God. In the first chapter Amos prophesied judgment against seven of the typical enemies of Israel. Such speeches usually have seven points like this and the people who heard it would have nodded their heads in agreement. But Amos suddenly lists an eight target of God’ wrath and its Israel.

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