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“Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread”
Matthew 6:11

Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Midweek Vespers—February 4, 2009

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

We continue our Midweek Vespers sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven.  Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” 

The word “give” is a humble acknowledgment that we are DEPENDENT upon God for everything.  We humbly approach our Father in heaven and ask HIM to provide FOR us.

We are not worthy of any good gift from God.  Because of our sins, we deserve from him not good gifts, but punishment. But, Paul says in Romans, “If God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” 

Out of love for you, your heavenly Father did not withhold even his own Son, but gave him as a sacrifice to earn full forgiveness for all your sins.  As Paul says, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  You can count on God to fulfill your daily wants and needs because he has already given you the greatest, most precious gift of all.  “If God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Hebrews says, “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Confident that your sins are forgiven on account of his Son’s sacrifice for you, you therefore approach your Father in heaven and ask him to provide for you. 

With the word “give” you acknowledge that you are dependent upon your heavenly Father, like a little child, dependent upon its parents.  With childlike confidence, trust that your needs will be supplied.  For, like a faithful parent, your heavenly Father will provide for you, as Jesus says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

“Give us this day our daily bread.”  The next thought is in the word “bread.”  Martin Luther explains in the Small Catechism, “What is meant by daily bread?  Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.”

Our Lord choose “bread” to symbolize all these necessities of life because throughout human history bread has been the most basic staple.  That is why “bread” is used in English as a slang word for money.  So, “daily bread” is symbolic, of all the wants and needs of this life.

The words “this day” and “daily” teach us patience and trust.  We don’t demand that God bestow upon us right now what we will need for our whole lives.  But, we patiently trust in him to give us day by day what is needed.  As Psalm 37 says, “Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him, and he shall give you your heart’s desires.”

A final thought is in the word “us.”  Not, “GimME, gimME, gimME,” but “Give US, OUR daily bread.”  This petition is a prayer for others, as well as for yourself.  The little word “us” teaches you to put aside selfishness and show Christian compassion and charity by sharing with those in need.  As John the Baptizer said, “The man with two coats should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”

“Give us this day our daily bread.”  The whole petition teaches us thankfulness, as the Catechism says, “God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.”

“Give us this day our daily bread.”  Amen.

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