Hey--This blog writing stuff isn’t too bad! It’s forcing me to listen harder to the sermons the pastor gives. Instead of sitting in the pew absorbing (or daydreaming), I’m actually remembering what he talks about. Hmm, God, You trying to tell me something?
This sermon was Pastor Shim Habte’s fourth in a series about the Lord’s Prayer, this time talking about the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Pastor Shim began with the question, “We have bread. Why should we pray for something we already have?” People responded with things like, “We should pray for the things we need.”
He told two stories to illustrate his point.
He told the story about the Hymn “God Will Take care Of You." The Bible teacher Stillman Martin and his family had an engagement to speak at a town far enough away that he would have to be gone a day or two. His wife got sick, and Rev. Martin wanted to bow out of the engagement to stay home with her. Their young child said to his father, "God will take care of us, go on doing God’s work.” So the minister went, and when he returned, his wife was well and handed him the words to “God will take care of you.” And Rev. Martin wrote the music, which is a blessing to us even today. Out of the mouth of a child came such wisdom! Pastor Shim said take of God’s business, and God will take care of you, and that’s a promise.
C.S.Lewis was supposed to go to London for a hair cut, but London was foggy and dreary that day. He really didn’t want to go, but he felt a strong urging from the Lord to go, so he went. When he arrived at his destination, his barber cried out, “Thank God you are here. I have been praying that the Lord would bring you here today. I have a great need for your help.” God met the Baber’s need through Lewis that day.
Shim referred us to Matthew Chapter 7 which says we should ask our heavenly Father, Who knows how to give good things to His children. Would we, as parents, give a stone to a child asking for bread? Would we give a snake to our child asking for meat? If we, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more would He, being good, give good gifts?
Does all this mean we should sit back on our duffs and let God just hand us all that we need? No. We are expected to earn our way, too, to support our families. Sometimes a person will come to the church and ask for money for whatever purpose. If they look physically able, Shim asks them if they would be willing to perform some work in return for the money. If they are not willing, he says, “Good Day” to them. Provided, of course, that the person is mentally and physically healthy--sometime it’s difficult to know. In that case it is good to ask for God to help discern what to do.
And yet another story: J.C. Penney, in 1929, was in the grips of a severe depression, and his family and friends left him because he was impossible to be around. He wound up in a hospital, where one of the staff invited him to go to the chapel on Christmas Eve. He heard the song, “God Will Take Care of You,” went back to his room, and asked Jesus to come into his life. He never had another day of depression. Look how God used the song 21 years after it was written to minister to someone in despair. God never wastes our sorrows or pain—we need to trust this all powerful and caring God. We have a Father we can count on; that’s why Jesus told us to say “our Father”—He is God your Father through Jesus Christ calling God. Our Father is a gift of Jesus Christ to those who believe in him as their Savoir and Lord.
So what is it we are asking for when we say, “Give us this day our daily bread?” We are asking God to provide for our needs, whatever the needs might be, because of his Goodness.
Pastor Shim suggested I add our church contact info to this blog (in case someone were in the area and wanted to come to this church)—so here it is:
Shim Habte, Pastor
First United Methodist Church
544 North Shasta
Willows, California 95988