Give Us This Day…

Please forgive me if a wax a bit too liberal here for my conserv- ative and evangelical friends out there, but when His followers asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He didn’t say, “Give us this day, everything that we want which is more than our fair share of Your resources.”  He said, “Give us this day, our daily bread.”  Now, without reading anything into this passage from His sermon on the mount (Matthew 6: 9-15), I take Jesus’ meaning to be give us only what we need.  He went on to pray, “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” although modern translations such as the NIV substitute the words, “sins,” or “trespasses,” for debts.  It seems that in our materialistic societies of today, it is easier for us to think in terms of forgiving someone else’s sins than it is his debts.  Afterall, debt implies money, and money is about business and about our day-to-day living, and we can’t be letting the Word interfer with our here-and-now lives, now can we?  Sin?  Hmmm… now that’s more difficult to quantify.  But we can forgive it so long as it doesn’t touch us.  Sin against me and I may forgive you, but only after I’ve had my revenge.

I got to thinking about all this after my wife’s Sunday School lesson today.  It was based on the most recent cover article appearing in TIME magazine, “Does God Want You to Be Rich?”  Interesting question.  According to the article, this is the central theme of some of today’s mega-churches such as The Potter’s House here in South Dallas.  The theology attracting many to these more evangelical, non-denominational places of worship, Prosperity Theology, is based on an interpretation of John’s gospel (10: 10), “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Now, be honest, do you really think that the abundance Jesus was talking about is “material” abundance?  Nah… I didn’t think so.

For me, the story of the rich young man in Mark’s gospel (10: 24-26) is answer enough to the question, “does God want us to be rich.”  After his encounter with the rich young man, Jesus explained to his disciples, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  Some argue in response to this, “But this is about where one places his priorities in life, not about how much one posesses.”

Hogwash, says I.  Matthew 6:24 says that no man can serve two masters.  “You cannot serve both God and worldly riches (mammon).”  So, Does God want us to be rich?  Sure He does… He wants us to be spiritually rich.

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Published in: on September 24, 2006 at 4:23 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You go Kent. I really enjoyed reading your analogy of the scriptures you mentioned. Spiritual wealth is something we all need and should strive for. I recently read an article on the dash between the year of our birth and the year of our death. That small dash sums up our entire life here on earth. To me, that is the most important thing we can strive for.

    Be Blessed!

  2. Ken,

    Two words really pop out as I read your comments.

    1. GIVE….Until we are willing to give or surrender our will to a subordinate position of the Fathers will and except or receive the gift we are cut of from true blessings.

    2. Forgive….the forgiveness being out of love is for us not for the individual whom has trespassed. Trespassing could be an unkind word or cutting someone off on the freeway. We may never see this person again but this requires our Fathers forgiveness and grace to cover our guilt so the evil one is not allowed to establish a strong hold in the heart.

    Many blessing and gifts are established by our salvation. It’s my understand the Father waits for us to ask not based on our limited understanding but to always ask for his amazing Blessings in every area of our lives.

    All things are possible, not just what our gray matter might conjure.

    Many times the fruition of grace we do not even recognize because it differs from what we ask for.

    The daily bread is given for just that day so even when we try to stockpile we find the stash is rotten.

    Prosperity Theology feeds on the same emotions as muti-level-marketing by saying once you learn the system and apply it then at some point you don’t have to work any more. This is totally contrary to the daily bread blessing. We can not earn tomorrows bread, the gift of life, anymore than we could predict the future.

    I recently read ‘Traveling Light’ by Max Lucado based on the 23rd Psalm. It’s a real eye opener on how much baggage we walk with even years after a circumstance has occured. Anyway thanks for you observations.

    Mike Pridemore

  3. Very nice, and, of course, well said. Just another reason I’m glad to become a humble art teacher. 🙂 I’ll be rich in many things, but money may be the very smallest, and I’m ok with that.

  4. Kent,

    I mostly concur, and I wish I could agree wholeheartedly with you, but I’ve recently walked away from the Christianity upon which I’ve based my life for forty-plus years, a decision influenced heavily by the wretched treatment I received at the hands of your own church. Many years of faithful service to God has been rewarded with complete personal and financial ruin. I don’t believe in “Prosperity Theology” because I don’t think that our prayers have any influence upon God’s actions. Conversely, I believe that the church is usually a conduit for people to achieve financial, psychological, and social ascendance by using God’s name. I liken the church today to that temple that Jesus wrecked a short time before the members of that church, along with the local government, decided that He was messin’ with their Gravy Train and that it was time to get rid of him permanently. Therefore, I agree that the “Prosperity Theology” of today is a dangerous trend, and it could lead to a catastrophic event within the church (based on the concept of history repeating itself), but I also question whether God really cares what happens in the short term.


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