- Religion and Philosophy
Money and Our Daily Bread
"Give us today our daily bread"
- Matthew 6:11
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus teaches us to pray, We pray for our daily bread. This is what we need to get us through the day. It is provisions; it is sustenance. And it is more than that. It is God's blessings and God's love. Jesus further instructs us: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7). We do not ask for money, we ask for bread. We do not seek riches, we seek fulfillment. We do not knock on doors, as if participating in some game show, hoping to pick the one with the most stuff behind it; we knock on the door, behind which lies opportunity, direction, and purpose. And Jesus tells us not to worry: "...do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear." (Matthew 6:25). So we pray, we ask, and we do not worry. We know we will receive all of what we need, for we know that God is continuously giving, and when we know this, we become empowered; we become enriched.
We may sometimes find ourselves thinking about finding a bag full of dollars, or "our ship coming in", or winning the lottery, but when we also contemplate God's wisdom, we may find ourselves making better decisions; when we contemplate God's grace we find ourselves being more creative. We live in God's love as we discover new opportunities.
God's wisdom is knowing that there is no limit to His gifts, no limit to His abundance. God's grace is the empowerment we receive, enabling us to accept His gifts, and to trust in their unlimited-ness. God's love is the good feelings we experience when we accept and when we trust.
We often tend to believe that we must have money in order to be happy. But when we live in God's love, and we let in all the good than comes with it, we cannot help but to feel at least a little bit of happiness, and this leads us to be even more accepting and trusting of God's gifts, which includes His unlimited abundance.
So again, we pray, we ask, and we seek. With Jesus as a guide we may find ourselves moving in new and inspired directions, knowing that all doors will be opened even if we are sometimes afraid to knock. We trust in Jesus to alleviate our fears and doubts, to heal our anxieties. And we give thanks.
We are grateful that our desires are being fulfilled even as we continue to work towards them. We are thankful that our debts are forgiven even as we continue to pay them down. We are grateful for every single penny, and every single blessing. Through God's unlimited powers to provide, we receive all that we need for ourselves and for others.
" Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking."
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love and Money
Money is not proud, rude or self-seeking. It cannot possess these qualities any more than it can be patient and kind. Money can only possess that which we, its creators, breath into it. In the absence of love we are self-seeking. In the presence of love we are kind. In the presence of love we do not envy. We do not love money, but when we breathe love into it, and use it in the loving ways. we find that, like love, there is plenty more of it available to us.
Money is often presented as an object by which many things are measured. In the presence of love this role is greatly diminished, as the power of love is immeasurable and so becomes the more superior "yardstick".
With love, gone is any notion of being deceitful or dishonest as a means to achievement. With love we do not worry about getting our fair share. God does not allocate nor budget, just gives freely and limitlessly. God does not need to rob Peter to pay Paul, as they say, so nobody loses when we receive. With love we see the needs of others and our desire for them to receive is stronger than that for ourselves. For love is, as Paul writes, "the most excellent way" to receive and to give.
Another thing about love, as Paul and John (the ones from Liverpool) remind us, is that money can't buy it! So fall in love, just not with money.
"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
- Proverbs 11:25
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is more than the line on the bottom; it is the whole picture, which includes the top line. This is what and how much is coming in and where it is coming from. Living in the presence of God's love, we know it is our daily bread that is coming in. We know it is as much as we need and we surely know where it is coming from. We also know that our daily bread is more than provisions. It is God's grace and love. It is God's healing. It is the empowerment we receive, to receive; it is the empowerment we receive, to give. We give and we give some more.
The very bottom line shows how we have done, what we have achieved. The true bottom line also includes our purpose in any endeavor.
The good news is that the bottom line is the same as the top line. There can be only one purpose for anything we do and that is to be in the presence of God's love at all times. And again, we are forever thankful.
While we have faith in Jesus to help relieve us from the burden of need or debt, there is also the burden of wealth, for it is difficult for the rich man to experience God's presence. It is difficult if he becomes attached to his wealth, placing more value in money as a material object, forgetting that it is just a small part of God's unlimited abundance. The rich man worries about losing his wealth. He may even fall in love with it so much that he never seems to have enough. So as it may be difficult for him to live in the light of God's love, it is still very possible, because as we know, all things are possible with God.
We are asked not to love money. We are reminded of this in Paul's familiar phrase, something about the love of money being a root to all kinds of bad things. Money itself is not bad; it is the love of money that gets us into trouble. We are also asked by Jesus not to worry. Whether we are in need or we are wealthy we can live in God's presence when we accept the gifts, including abundance, and use them with loving care. We do not worry; we give. We pass along all that we receive, and we do so with love.
Some have taken a vow of poverty, and they are still clothed and fed, while others have chosen to give their way out of debt, finding that all they give is returned to them many times over. May we all do these things to some degree whenever we give, giving from the bottom of our hearts.
The bottom line is that our daily bread is the good news of God's gifts of grace and love, healing and forgiveness, and of God's unlimited, unlimited giving.
All Bible passages are from The New International Version.
This article reflects my own thoughts regarding the Bible passages that I mention, and is not intended to refute any traditional interpretations or any beliefs based on them.
© 2012 Paul K Francis