It is impossible for me not to think it ironic that I write this article now. I bunted it last week because I felt like I would be talking about a place I was no longer at. One I couldn’t confess to being in and had no idea how to get back to. This week I have been so busy that I feel like it is hard to relate to the premise of what I was originally planning to say, so perhaps I will just say something entirely different.
I wanted to tell you how incredibly grateful I am that Jesus has asked me to live on daily bread. He has no grand and glorious expectations for me to save until I become a millionaire. He doesn’t think I am enormously irresponsible when I take no thought of the morrow because this is exactly what He has asked me to do.
I, for one, think it is a really weird teaching. One I have engaged continually over the last nearly three and a half years of my life, during which I have held no “real” job. How can my life be responsible? Why did God ask me to do this? Why doesn’t He provide for me in more conventional ways like He does so many other Americans? And why does the bread have to be daily? Why couldn’t it be monthly bread?
The last question was asked partly in good humor and partly for real. God, are You sure You want us to stick with trusting You for daily bread? Don’t You know our bills come monthly in 21st-century America? You surely can’t expect me to live day by day. That would be ludicrous.
I think most of the teachings of Jesus are ludicrous from a human standpoint. If we were going to try to get into heaven based on how well we did what Jesus told His followers to do, we would all get a huge “F” for failure on the day we tried to enter those pearly gates. I am dependent on His grace.
I am grateful that I have money in the bank that will cover more than this month’s rent. I am also grateful I am not entirely sure exactly how all of next month’s income will make its way into my account. I think I know, but I have learned there is really no point in assuming I actually know.
Recently just like last summer, I momentarily wondered if He really would lead me down a path to spending my last penny before bringing financial relief. I find comfort in His kindness for understanding my weakness – my seeming emotional need for temporal security. I am thankful I know there is food in my fridge for tomorrow.
So many times along this crazy journey, He has pushed me very close to a breaking point as I considered what I was willing to sacrifice as I followed Him. When making life decisions, I always consider the worst case scenario. It is something I have done for much of my adult life. What is the worst thing that could happen? Then if I decide I am willing to undergo the worst case scenario as a result of the risk, I take it.
For some reason in the last few years, the worst case scenario regarding my finances always has me dying of starvation under a bridge in Weehawken. I have no idea why I keep choosing a bridge in Weehawken! In any case, no matter what scenario I considered, the story always ended the exact same way, “…and then I will die and go home to Jesus.” It didn’t matter whether the best or worst case scenario was imagined, the story still had the same ending. This is a weird thing about following Jesus. The destination is so secure.
Then one morning maybe about seven or eight months ago God quietly promised me during my time with Him that I would never lose my apartment. It was the most wordless promise I have ever received from Him. A quiet whisper, but really almost just a transcendent calm. Complete peace. So I have never had to worry about losing my home as a result of following Him again. Once and awhile I need to remind myself of His promise. He will not make me destitute.
A few weeks ago, I was walking a dog, which is one of the random activities I call work. I was outside of a retirement home, and there was an old man sitting outside. He started talking to the dog. I had money I could be making at home. Many would argue I had money I should be making at home and I should have tugged the leash, told the old guy “Good day”, and headed on my way.
I was tempted, but I wondered what the hurry was. I had more than daily bread in my cabinet at home. I had more than the coming month’s rent already in the bank. Was there really anything more important than talking to this man? Someone who by all indication from the conversation had no one left on this earth? In the long scheme of things, wouldn’t it be more important that I stayed than that I made an extra dollar? Would a new computer or an extra dollar in the basket at church really ever be more important than being willing to serve this man at this moment in time?
It was on that day when I finally became thankful that God has asked me to live on daily bread. If He had told me to store up treasures on earth, I couldn’t have made the decision to love that man while confidently knowing God was going to care for me next month. I would have had to tug the leash and consider only how I would care for myself tomorrow.
Do you live your life on daily bread, or are you always trying to make your future secure? Have you ever been able to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything is going to be okay tomorrow?