Summary: A devotion or brief sermon based on the life of Greenland missionary, Hans Egede. His translation of "Give us this day our daily bread," helped the Inuit people understand Christ and his supply.
Today, January 31st is the birthday of Hans Egede. I’m sure you are busy planning your celebration of this grand occasion right now! But, more than likely, for 99.9% of those reading this devotion, you have never heard of this guy!
Hans Egede was a Norwegian Lutheran Missionary, born in 1686. He is best known as a missionary to Greenland, and often referred to as the “Apostle of Greenland.” He even established the city of Godthab (translated “Good Hope”) now known as Nuuk, which is the capital city of Greenland. Through his efforts he was able to establish a successful mission among the native Inuit people and reach them for Christ.
In learning more about Hans, I discovered that he studied the language of the Inuit people and sought to communicate the gospel to them in their own language. This required a great deal of time and effort. Perhaps one of the more challenging scripture translations for him was one we take for granted. Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3) But, that did not translate for the Inuit people. In fact, they had no bread, nor any idea what it was. So, using some imagination, Hans Egede came up with this translation for the local natives: “Give us this day our daily seal.” Such strategic teaching worked and his successful mission among the local people made an impact that lasts to this day. A statue of Hans is erected in Nuuk to commemorate this devoted missionary.
Perhaps we are too casual in understanding the meaning of Jesus’ great teaching. When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray, he included this line that is so familiar to us: “Give us this day our daily bread.” For those of us who have pantries filled with canned foods and freezers loaded with meat and veggies, we might not grasp the true meaning of Jesus’ words. The proper translation is not, “give us a pantry and refrigerator and freezer full of food so we never grow hungry,” but it is instead, “Give us day by day what our bodies require.”
God is concerned about meeting our needs for today. We are often too focused on tomorrow. We are also guilty of being over-confident in our ability to provide for ourselves. God wants us to daily depend on him for everything. Every day should find us looking to Him for the needed provisions of that day. Whatever keeps us fueled, it should come from Him: bread, protein, water, wisdom, joy, peace, love, forgiveness, strength, patience, and more. He expects us to have a daily dependence on Him. And yet, many of us look to God as if we are saying to Him, “I’m OK for now, God. I’ll let you know when my supply runs low.” This should not be!
I like the way that the Good News Translation words Luke 11:3 – “Give us day by day the food we need.” That includes the provisions we need physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I literally cannot live a day without the supplies of my Savior, can you? I may not depend on seal to get me by, but I bet the Inuit people don’t depend on grits either, a staple for me! Join me in praying for God to bless us one day at a time. He’s got tomorrow covered too. But, our focus and His is to get us through today. Set the table Lord, I’m ready to eat from your abundant supply today! Join me in knowing that He will supply your every need for today. Tomorrow isn’t here yet. I trust you with my today, Lord. Fill me, Lord, through and through with your adequate daily supply!