Over the years with Desire Street Ministries, I have learned some life lessons that have made a big impact on my thinking.
Like for instance, I grew up in what would be considered a middle-class family. Before I got involved with Desire Street Ministries, I tended to hyper-spiritualize that phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “give us this day our daily bread.” That is, I asked God to give me the Bread of life (Jesus), which is a good thing to do, but I never really thought much about how God provided the food on our table because I had only ever struggled with what to eat – never if I would eat.
The kids from the “Projects” around the Ministry came across the street regularly for food, recreation and Bible study. I quickly noticed that each child, as he would begin to pray, would always start with “thank you Lord for waking me up this morning.” You see, to the child in poverty, waking up each morning is truly a gift, because waking up each morning isn’t guaranteed.
When I think about it, having now survived the worst part of having Guillain Barré Syndrome, I tend to have that same prayer, “Lord, thank you for waking me up.” Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us.
I also think of when my wife and I lost almost all our possessions in Hurricane Katrina. Yet looking at my wife and son, I realized that while we were left without all the things we wanted (our home, our belongings, irreplaceable photos and memorabilia), we still had all that we needed—we had each other.
So I often think about wants vs. needs, and about how easy it is in American consumerism to hoard our possessions, our money, our talents and our time. In the aftermath of Katrina, there were huge mounds of trash on the sidewalks in front of gutted homes—a daunting reminder of how quickly our treasure can become trash.
More than ever, I want to invest the gifts God has given me into eternal things, and as I consider how to do that, maybe God will use me to answer my neighbor’s prayer for daily bread.
“Give us our daily bread” is a reminder to us all of simple, dependent faith. It’s what Jesus had in mind when he taught the disciples how to pray.
Will you join us today in praying for the needs of our ministry partners? It’s one way that you can make a big difference in the lives of kids and families living in poverty.