Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lord's Prayer: The Anti-Success Line

"Give us this day our daily bread."

I think Jesus was pulling from Proverbs 30:8-9 which reads, ". . . give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God"

As middle class North Americans we believe ours is a world where resources are plentiful, even unlimited; only those who do not try hard enough are poor. The dude at the corner with a cardboard sign must be lazy or, worse, cursed for disobedience to God. That would be the only explanation for not having a piece of the unlimited pie. Therefore being poor is connected to sin and sloth in our minds. This means we often interpret "give us our daily bread" as "give me the strength to get my piece of the pie."

Yet as flawed as that argument might be, the really tragedy is our blindness to the other end of the spectrum. We ignore the portion of the proverb which warns against having too much. We skip over Deuteronomy 8 and its repeated warnings of the deceitfulness of success. We send our young to school to be successful and we honor those who succeed financially by making them elders and deacons.

So what does God really hear when we as the successful middle class pray "give me daily bread?" Maybe he hears our hearts confessing to reliance on something other than him; may he hears our problem handling success.
I wonder if his answer addresses a different need than our petition? Perhaps his words to Haggai still speak to us, "Give careful thought to your ways. . . You expected much, be see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why? Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house."

I think its still worth some thought.

No comments: