Monday, May 16, 2005

Our Daily Bread—It's Not Junk Food

The petition that God “give us this day our daily bread” asks for such an infinite variety of things that it’s impossible to exhaustively define “daily bread.” But the concept can be given some meaning by considering what it does not refer to; one way to do that is by contrasting bread with junk food.

Bread is good, although it is not terribly exciting in and of itself. But it fills us and keeps us filled, and although it doesn’t give us the sugar rush that accompanies a doughnut or candy, its energy stays with us. In short, bread is good, solid, if somewhat ordinary, food that gives us what we need to live and work.

Junk food, in contrast, is about flavor, not function. The idea is to titillate the taste buds now, with little concern for sustaining us. Indeed, it usually has a negative effect, both through the crash that quickly follows its consumption and the ways it degrades our health over time. As good as it may taste, you cannot live (for long) on junk food.

So what Jesus tells us to pray for are those things that we need for life, as ordinary as they may seem, not the things that temporarily satisfy but do not further the purposes He has for us. Those other things may be OK in limited amounts, but that is not what our Lord tells us to seek after.

(Images about savoring God’s blessings were posted May 16 and 20, July 7, and 15, 2005.
Other images about prayer were posted September 17, 17.1, 17.2, October 8 and 17, November 13 and 19, 2004 and May 27, 2005)

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