Give Us This Day

By definition, an agrarian society depends on agriculture for subsidence. In this society, there is a direct relationship between what you do, and in what you harvest. Farmers, like fishermen are daily involved with overseeing their harvest when any simple calamity can upset plans. In this environment, indeed a great need exists for prayer for our daily bread.

Modern society is much different.  Many in western society have never even seen a chicken unless it was already butchered, dressed or fried in today’s traditional styles.  No direct relationship exists between work and food.  No, we depend on an employer for payment when in turn we have a transfer of wealth with the process of money.

In this interdependent relationship we depend on:  the farmer, the banks, roadway systems, government, doctors, hospitals, schools and many, many others for our day to day operation.

Often denizens in this modern, technological culture have any apparent need to call on God except in the most extreme circumstances such as a grave illness, injury, death or loss of job, etc.

Can you imagine in today’s marketplace attempting to:

Live day by day?

Not worrying about where you are to live, what you are to eat or else, what you will wear.

Sure> We call that being HOMELESS! Others, who have more money refer to it as extreme camping and it is a hobby.

So then, the supposition here is that:

The homeless are more connected to their own spirituality and at times, to God and nature.

The destitute are also more connected or at least possess the opportunity to embrace the very nature of God.

Those who are within the flow of things, those who are ‘rich’ have no real need for the encounter of Jesus.  At least if they do, it is only on the intellectual level.  Why?  Because of the seemingly belief that all their other needs are met by man.

Where does these insights lead us?  Do I advocate homelessness, or poverty or neglect?

Yes, if that is what is required to lead you to God.

The concept of depending on God, day by day as if eating Biblical manna that spoils after 24 hours is the relationship Jesus advocated for us to His Father.

The notion is:  When we pray, we should indeed be seeking our needs daily, not looking for retirement, but daily.  Accepting the risk in trusting God to meet our needs can be a scary ordeal.  It is one that requires commitment and one we can easily fail.

My urgency here is to practice.  I urge all to try this approach whenever we seek the audience of God.  We truly then approach His throne and request OUR DAILY BREAD.


6 thoughts on “Give Us This Day

  1. When you have “nothing left” to impress others with – then all you have is yourself and how comfortable you are with that. And once you find that wonderful comfort – you need nothing “of value” to show others. I think that is where God lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom,

    Another very insightful post. You are expanding my mind and imagination again today.

    I see two points to enhance right off the top, but I reserve the right to gel with this a while yet.

    One… when you list off the farmers, the doctors, bankers, the roads and all those connection points between the consumer and the product… one of the very important words that comes to mind is “anonymous”. We live in a horrifying anonymity, and tragically think that is our safety cover. In fact, I really think that when that homeless person behind your corner 7-11 is your own dad, brother, or child, you tend to DO something about at least THAT one. Sure, you might be exasperated by the schizophrenia, the addiction, the lies and manipulations, and there are plenty of people at the end of those ropes, but to every other passerby, that person is just a bum. Easy to ignore and forget – in fact to try to forget.

    The other point I react to is… how the homeless are often more spiritual – thankful for daily bread.

    As above, there are loads of exceptions to this rule. I must give the nod to that. But I think you are describing the rule all the same. In fact I don’t find this attitude hardly at all among the rich, and even though it is a bit sparse sometimes among the poor, they are the ones who have that spirituality cornered.

    I grew up in small towns, for the most part. The last vestige of agrarian society. It is drying up, but there are pockets out there where some of it’s better influences are still felt. And I grew up with people who actually talked about borrowing a cup of sugar from the neighbor lady to use in the recipe for tonight’s dinner. My parents and grand parents actually experienced that kind of thing in yesteryear. I on the other hand, only heard of it. That is .. until I ventured among the poor. There in the projects I see exactly this kind of sharing. I witnessed a guy come knock on the door of a welfare granny I was friends with to ask her if she had a couple Aspirins for his headache. And I instantly knew I was witnessing a version of that neighborly virtue God intended and Ag society reveled in but which is mostly gone now. For honestly, if my mom really needed a cup of sugar, she probably planned ahead and already got it from the store, and if not, she would put the cooking on hold while she ran down to the corner market to get some. After all, it would be embarrassing to bother the neighbor in or post agrarian world.

    And this dovetails back into the anonymity. For if my mom had gone to the neighbor, the neighbor would have obliged, I think, but then mom would probably have invited her to share in the cookies or cake or whatever too. Neighbors in and out of one another’s homes. Sharing. This is anything but anonymity.

    The picture you paint is of a whole group of people sharing like this. A spirituality that goes with it. We together live or die by the loving will of God to care for us, and we DEPEND on him and our care for one another on a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, basis. That… of course, sounds like the part of church life my church isn’t even bothering to aspire to, but which it is deeply missing. A bit of virtue the homeless could be bringing back to life in our midst if only we welcomed them in.


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    1. Agent Nathan. I guess I love the homeless as many are my friends I remember one time when Claudette and I were sleeping in a small stand of woods. An old minister friend assisted in getting us a job, but failed to realize that waking up dirty and tired was not the way to arrive at work so we didn’t go. We had one set of clothes. Actually, we were looking for more day to day type of work that allowed us to eat. It is hard to sleep or work on a really empty stomach. Once I found a piece of friend chicken left at a bus stop bench. It was half-eaten, but really very good. And yes, you hit it right. There are no STRANGERS among the homeless. You see, without trying to tick everyone off, the homeless do have some advantages over us with a roof over our head. They have real friends. They can experience God without having to worry if it is over money or not or over material things. And no, not all are that way. Some are bad people the same as with anything. Yet, there was a time when Jesus told his disciples, I think either 70 or 77 to go out without anything extra.The lesson from Jesus is obvious. Being homeless can really bring the best out in you if one would let it for it makes you really, really appreciate the things God provides. God, for just say, a cup of coffee.Seeing and feeling the rain, the cold, the heat the sweat the smells push at you and poke and prod and force you to KNOWS that you are alive! This goes much further than survival and defines a purpose if none other than to seek that life possesses more meaning. The other aspect is that you take nothing for granted and love the connection among the elements. Lastly, it is so great to see and experience the generosity others have. First it is from the homeless themselves, but secondly it is those who are better off. I can’t say I have ever been treated better in my life. I hope and pray that one day, and I know we will with Jesus in our afterlife to come together and embrace each other in love. The love I’m speaking about is where our focus is NOT on sin, but on love, goodness, purity, patience and long suffering and rejoicing together.


    2. I see a need for a backdrop here of information:
      First the times I have been homeless, most of the time I volunteered for it. Jesus volunteered for his as well. Volunteering doesn’t make it any easier, but it does cut out the resentment part of it I have heard others express.
      The first time I was homeless was around 1968-1969
      At the time I was suffering from acute and chronic mental issues of schizophrenia, heavily medicated, suicidal and depressed. One night I decided to hightail it via train. I had enough money to make it to New Orleans and from there hitch-hiked to Shreveport, La.
      Hanging around a military base and sleeping on base until I got caught, I hit the streets again and made it as far as Scribner, Nebraska. I was there I think for about two weeks and went back down to Shreveport, visiting all east Texas. On the road, I came down with what then was called Regional Enteritis. It is called Crohn’s disease now, a very painful disease. I was so sick it didn’t seem I would live. In fact, while at Barksdale Military Hospital they told me I would probably die and so I took out the needles in my arms with the attached IV’s and left the hospital.
      I drifted for months where the pain from the disease took my mind off depression. In fact, since I didn’t die, I forgot all about my condition and soon felt better.
      After attending many Charismatic meetings, one day I went up to the door of the First United Church, Head of Texas Street, Shreveport, La. And told them I thought God could use me there. I have no idea why I chose them.
      The asst minister who was in charge of street ministry programs was going to be gone for a week. That was no problem for them as they then directed me to a hotel where all expenses were paid, including food. I couldn’t believe it for I had maybe 15 cents to my name at the time.
      So I don’t bore you with this autobio, the Asst Minister placed me in a home in a rundown part of town and gave me $35 a week to be with kids who would come there.
      The first week we had maybe 8 kids, but soon we had over 500.
      Months later, the asst minister was moved to Baton Rouge and the senior minister, Dr. D.L. Dykes, didn’t want to tend to that many people outside of the church.
      At any rate, my world was destroyed. However, later I went to school for the sole purpose of being a street minister. After school, the Methodist set me up as a pastor while going to seminary. I didn’t want to be a pastor. In fact, I thought I’d be the worse at it. That is how it was going to be, so I didn’t go.
      Needless to say, my attitude was probably wrong, but that’s how it turned out. I went into teaching instead and later became homeless again about 11 years ago. I’ll write about some of those experiences later so I don’t wear you out with all this reading. Let’s just say that people and God have been so good to me. It took nearing death to bring me to my senses and bring me out of my self-pity party of depression. I learned that others held the key to life and that my life meant very little indeed without them and Jesus. I’ll speak more as time goes by but this is what has directed my life.


  3. This is really an very thought provoking post. And I hate to use that terminology for it. I find it to usually be empty flattery. But I mean it in the best sense possible. Your post is provoking a lot of really great thoughts that cause me to reorganize or shuffle around some bits of my worldview.

    I must say, though, that the more I sit with it, the more I think ANONYMITY is an important feature that needs to be factored in more. And or the flip side would be COMMUNITY. Community needs to be factored in while anonymity needs to be acknowledged and then factored out, actually.

    I am a church man. I do not believe in Lone Ranger Christianity – that is a farce and not biblical. I sense a lot of Christians idealize it, but that is a huge mistake. That said, though, it is clear that the church is failing as a community – at least in the Capitalist west.

    But when I apply this slice of thinking to your offerings here, I find my thoughts burning a high octane fuel. And if there is something largely missing from my offerings, it is this almost innate trust the homeless – the have nots – bring to the table. And it is my experience too, though I don’t often highlight it, that among these poor there is a simple trust in day to day existence that is flat out lacking in the rich. There is a spirituality that accompanies it too (frequently) that is lacking in the church. And it occurs to me that the church has a HUGE asset there just waiting patiently for us to access if only we get past our own contempt and embrace these folks at that full-brotherhood level.

    I am not saying the homeless will teach us everything we need to know in order to be human. Nor am I saying the homeless don’t need the discipline we might bring to them. On the contrary, I think we would complement one another in that most god-like mysterious way. But it means this hidden feature among the poor suddenly comes to light. And your post is definitely shedding that light.

    I really appreciate that.



    Liked by 1 person

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