Give us this day…
What do you need? More money? A better job? A bigger house? Sleep? Peace? Health? More time? A better life? One thing most of us in the west don’t need, is more food. In the days of Jesus, when a lot of folk lived at subsistence level, it made sense to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) Even today, in the UK, there are some for whom this is a very real prayer need.
But when I can slip round to the supermarket and choose from heaving shelves, why do I need to ask God for it? And what about all those other things I really could do with? Take sleep for example. As a carer, I have to get up, sometimes several times in the night, and a proper night’s sleep is a real treat. I am very grateful for our Personal Assistant who gives me that once a week; but that didn’t stop me moaning about it to God the other morning, through bleary eyes. You know what he said to me? “Offer it up to me as a sacrifice.” That stopped me in my tracks, I can tell you.
Philippians 4:19 promises, “ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.“ And let me tell you, he is very, very rich. He can give us EVERYTHING we need. I need one good night a week, and he gives me that. I’d like a whole lot more sleep. He could give me that too, but he asks me to sacrifice it. Why? I’ve no idea. But I do trust him. Whether I moan, or whether I offer it gladly, I still feel tired. But offering sleep up as a sacrifice gives it meaning, value and dignity; moaning achieves nothing. And although Jesus taught his disciples to pray for bread, they still felt called to fast sometimes.
So what do you need? Really need? Hannah needed a child. She asked God, and he answered, and in the deal she offered her son Samuel back to God, as a personal sacrifice (1 Samuel 1). God is no liar. He WILL supply all our needs. But sometimes offering our lack back to God as a willing sacrifice demonstrates our trust in him, and takes our relationship with him to a deeper level. It’s all about trust.