"Two things I ask of you, O Lord... keep falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you, or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." Proverbs 30:7-9
Maybe you’re like me and memorized the Lord’s prayer as a young child, saying it far too many times to count usually without thinking much about the words. 'Give us today our daily bread’. Ok, give me food and clothes. (Prevent me from starving and wardrobe failures?)
The author of these verses from Proverbs 30 is Agur, a man not mentioned anywhere else in the scriptures. Agur's request, however, is quite profound, and sheds great illumination on the ‘daily bread’ concept. To re-phrase his words, Agur is saying 'God, help me to firstly, live in truth and secondly be content each day with no more and no less than just enough.'
Occasionally I ask God to reveal His truth and keep me in it. It hasn’t occurred to me to ask Him for ‘just enough’ daily needs for each day. After all, isn’t it better to be prepared with a little extra - just in case? After all, abundance, excess and super sizing is the normal for the society I live in...
Recognizing God' provision is a blessing.
Releasing something He withholds is a challenge.
But requesting He limit my sustenance each day? That takes a whole new level of trust!
Imagine exclaiming when my belly is full, my bank account is overflowing, my health is in tip top shape: “Now hold on here, God. This is too much! Please won’t you take back such and such so I don't become desperate or proud?" I’ve gotta be honest and admit my thoughts haven’t spent much time in that place.
Agur’s writing inspires me. He understood his limitations. He knew his tendency towards pride and greed. In the process of praying for contentment in today, he also prayed for coverage for tomorrow, aiming to prevent what might happen in the midst of temptation. Can I do the same? The Apostle Paul discussed these concepts in Philippians 4:12-13, which says “I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (NIV) What a sweet reminder that Paul, Agur, you and me aren’t able to pray in our own strength. All power, wisdom and gratitude are rooted in and spring up from our Lord, the God who took care of my greatest need - salvation!
Agur’s beautiful proverb has taught me to pray the Lord’s prayer differently. Now when I say ‘daily bread’, I consider the amount and attitude. My Father knows exactly what I need, exactly what He will provide each moment, and exactly what I will do with what He gives me. I fall before Him in repentance, ask for the Holy Spirit's constant presence and remember to lead my heart to contentment in only just enough.
Song Reflection: We give thee but thine own, whate'er the gift may be; all that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee. LSB #781
Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for Your word that guides me into all truth. I can be impatient, prideful or downright spoiled about the things I want or what I think I need. Forgive me, Lord. Help me trust You to provide just enough, and make me content in all circumstances. Show me how to honor You with all I have been given. In Your name, Amen.