“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” ~Matt 6:31-34
This week at the dinner table, my family went over the Lord’s Prayer and talked about each of the different components of it. One of those parts was Matt. 6:11: “Give us this day our daily bread.” In other words, we pray that the Lord would give us what is necessary for that day. Some people take this to mean that we should work to provide for our families just for the day, or even in some cases, not at all, taking this to mean the Lord will provide all our needs. Now I don’t mean to give the impression that they don’t do other things with their time. George Müller, a man who ran several orphanages in England, did so by prayer. He did not work outside of the orphanage; his work was training up the children under his care, making decisions for what repairs were to be made and what tasks were to be taken up. Yet he never asked for money and didn’t work in a job that paid money. But God provided for his needs and gave him all that he needed. Sometimes they didn’t have breakfast to serve the children until God providentially provided milk and bread in the form of a milkman and baker who both were having trouble with their wares and so gave them to the orphanages. This was a noble attitude, but the Bible also talks about a man providing for his family and suggests that preparing for the future is a good thing. So what is right? Should we work and save for the future? Should we work only for a day’s wages? Should we work at all, trusting instead on God to provide for our needs? Let’s look at the last one first: Should we work at all? My answer: yes. George Müller had the job of training up children and providing for their needs. Like the disciples described in Luke 10:7 who preached the Word without pay, yet were given food and shelter by Christians, Müller was also a “laborer…worthy of his wages.” He had a job working for the Lord and the Lord provided for his needs. Should we work for the Lord only and not for man? No, for the Law holds many rules centered around business. We also have a clearer example: Paul was a tentmaker who worked while ministering and Jesus was a carpenter who worked for all but the last several years of His earthly incarnation, at which time He devoted Himself fully to ministry. So it is Biblical to work. Should we work for a day’s wage only? No; Solomon tells us to take a lesson from the ant which stores up food for the winter. Throughout the Old Testament we see inheritances where the firstborn is given a double portion, but all the rest is divided between the remaining sons. Dowries also are given for daughters. So it is not only Biblical to save for your future, but the futures of your children. The essence of the passage is not to become John the Baptists who live in the desert on locusts and honey, but to trust the Lord for our provision, however great or small. We are not to worry when finances grow thin, for the Lord will provide. We are not to hoard money or resources, for to do so would put them on a higher pedestal than God. We are not to let our focus be towards what we will do with our resources, for when it becomes our primary focus, again we have placed it higher than God. This passage is a warning: Don’t let material possessions become your worry or god. Save, provide for your family, but do not let money become your focus. The Lord will provide when circumstances seem grim. When our goal is to show His love by blessing others, He Himself will bless us. Therefore, prepare for tomorrow, but do not be anxious or worried about what tomorrow holds. The Lord has all things under control.
Your brother in Christ,