Throughout life there are basic needs that must be satisfied. Some are needed on a daily basis while others are only needed once in a while. The majority of a person’s time is spent in doing what they believe is necessary to supply these needs. However, there is one need that many people neglect. Consequently it is not satisfied.
Once we understand Who it is that we petition when following the outline of the prayer the Lord taught us in Matthew 6 and recognize God’s holiness, He invites us into His presence as His children. We can enter into that hallowed atmosphere honoring His holy name and desiring His will to be done on this earth as it is in heavenly places.
After making God’s kingdom and His will our first consideration, renouncing ourselves of our own will and become faithful citizens of His kingdom, then everything in the Father’s house belongs to us. The apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, clearly understood this. He said, “Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours.” “And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” I Corinthians 3:21, 23. He also said, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:16, 17.
If you have renounced self and become a citizen of the kingdom of God and pray that His name be honored and His kingdom established with His will done here, you can ask with perfect confidence and expect that today you will be given what is necessary for your daily need. Some things are required daily while others are only needed occasionally or even once in a lifetime. Bread or food is needed daily to sustain physical health. The word translated daily bread, which occurs nowhere else in the Bible means necessary or essential bread. Thus we are asking that God give us that which is needful, that which is necessary for our sustenance today. It is a reference to Proverbs 30:8 KJV, which says, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.” The marginal reading is “food of my allowance,” or for my needs.
The first petition is that the Lord will give what is necessary for our sustenance today. It does not include what we may need tomorrow, or next week, or next month, but only the daily requirement. This is not a selfish request that we would have all of our wants supplied but rather that we would receive only what we need. In this world today there is often a great difference between necessity and want. We are not promised luxuries or abundance. This is forcefully illustrated in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The parable talks about a man who had super-abundance, more than he needed, but he did not use his abundant supply to help others.
Luke writes, “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.” Luke 16:19–21.
This story presents one of the great anomalies, one of the great paradoxes in human life.
People say, How can this be? The poor pray and pray, but God blesses the rich. Friend, if God has blessed you with riches, it is so that you may be a blessing to those that do not have what you have. In this story the rich man did not do much to relieve the suffering of the poor man, who ate the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham. Have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.’ ” Verses 22–24.
In the future life, the tables will be turned and things will be totally opposite from the way they were in this world. In the parable it appeared that while he was alive, the rich man had everything and Lazarus had nothing. But Lazarus was saved and the rich man was lost. If God has blessed you with riches, it is to give you an opportunity to bless others. However, this rich man did not do that and lost his soul. The Bible here records the two unanswered prayers that were prayed when it was too late. It says, “ ‘… beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ ” Verses 26–29.
Notice the message here: if you are not convinced to do what is right by what is written in the word of God, then no miracle will convert you. The Bible says that in the last days the whole world will appear to be converted on the basis of miracles, but they will find out too late that these miracles were performed by the power of evil spirits. (See Revelation 13–18.) It is not miracles that the world needs today to find the truth and to save one’s soul. What we need, said Abraham in the parable, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ” Luke 16:31.
We’re living in a time when it is easier than ever before in world history for anyone who wants to know truth to obtain a copy of the word of God and to read it. And yet we are living in a time when there is more ignorance of the word of God than in any other age except perhaps during the Dark Ages. Has God blessed you? If so, He has blessed you so you can help someone else that is in need. We are not in this world to please ourselves.
It was not the purpose of Jesus to please Himself. He told a number of stories to teach this principle. He said, “ ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’ Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought with himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” So he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ ” Luke 12:16–19.
This man decided he had so much wealth he was ready to retire in luxury. “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ ” Verse 20.
It may come as a surprise to many that in this world, we do not actually own anything. People work hard to accumulate things, but the Bible says, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” I Timothy 6:7.
While here, we are just stewards or managers. The Lord is testing us to see how we will manage His goods. Jesus said that if you have not been faithful with the goods that belong to somebody else, how could you be trusted with more? Those who lay up treasure for themselves are not rich toward God (Luke 16:11, 12).
In western countries today the danger is not in having too little but in having luxuries and super-abundance. Having an abundance of earthly possessions is more dangerous to spiritual health than being poor like Lazarus, a beggar, and not having enough. A study of Christian history reveals that even in the time of Christ, and ever since that time, the gospel has had its greatest success within the poorer social classes.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23, 24. It says that when His disciples heard that, they were exceedingly amazed because they had been taught that the rich were rich because God had blessed them and favored them. Many Jews felt that spiritual riches had given them worldly riches and that the Gentiles were destitute of both and therefore left out of the plan of salvation.
But Jesus told them it is the one who has the most that is in danger of losing his soul. He said, “For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36, 37.
Our danger today is not that we won’t have enough but that we will have more than enough and mismanage the Lord’s goods properly. God supplies you with a surplus so that you will have something with which to bless somebody else. How are you managing the Lord’s goods that are in your control?
A story is recorded in the Bible of Jesus’ providing food for a multitude of people. He was preaching to them in a desert place and many hours had passed and the “5,000 men with women and children” were hungry. The disciples suggested that the crowd be sent away into the villages so they could buy food, but Jesus, unwilling for them to go fasting that they might faint in the way, told the disciples to provide something for them to eat. The disciples asked how they would be able to do that. One of the disciples said that ten month’s wages wouldn’t buy enough food to feed the multitude. Another disciple said he had talked to a lad that had five barley loaves and two small fishes, but what would that be among a multitude? Jesus instructed that the people be told to sit down. They could then watch as the little boy willingly gave his small lunch to Jesus. After the Lord had given thanks, He began to break in pieces the bread and the fish. The disciples passed it out to the people and the whole multitude, estimated at between fifteen and twenty thousand, were fed from five barley loaves and two small fishes. “So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.’ ” John 6:12. Twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered.
“The people were so excited by the miracle they had witnessed that they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” John 6:14.They wanted to crown Him king.
The principle laid here is that we should manage well the resources the Lord has given us. Just because the Lord worked a miracle to feed all those people didn’t mean that they should be wasteful with what was left over. We cannot conscientiously pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” if we have been wasteful with what we have had. The Bible has many strong lessons against wastefulness.
Another famous story that Jesus told was about a man who had two sons. “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Luke 15:11–13. This son had plenty, but he wasted it. So often that happens when the Lord gives us more than we need. Instead of conserving and using the excess to be a blessing to those around us, we often practice luxuriousness and wastefulness.
What about the person that wastes his Lord’s goods? “He [Jesus] said also to His disciples: ‘There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, “What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.” ’ ” Luke 16:1. At the end of that story Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon [in managing the goods that the Lord has given you in this world: real estate, property, wealth, money, all those things, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Luke 16:10–12.
Has the Lord given to you your daily bread? If not then you need to pray and ask for it because it has been promised to you. But what if you have more than you need? Are you using the Lord’s goods that have been committed into your hands wisely, or are they being wasted?
By limiting our request to the needs of today, it develops in us a child-like trust and dependence upon God to supply all of our need, for He is able. The apostle Paul said, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:18. Our Father is very rich and He has the means, the ability, and the resources to supply every need that we have. But as we read in the stories in the Bible, often times we find that when He gives someone more than is needed, instead of using it and managing it wisely, it is either wasted or not used to bless others.
The Lord’s Prayer teaches a lesson of simple dependence upon God for daily needs. We can have confidence knowing that He will supply all that is necessary for both our temporal and our spiritual needs.
(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)
Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: email@example.com, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.