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Watch 2022 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Food For Thought

Robert Jeffress - Food For Thought

Robert Jeffress - Food For Thought
TOPICS: Prayer That Really Work, Prayer, Thoughts, Lord's Prayer

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome to Pathway to Victory. In America, we've been blessed with an overabundance of food. Most of us live within just a few miles of dozens of different restaurants and grocery stores, so do we really need to ask God, and to quote, "Give us this day our daily bread"? Well, there's more behind that familiar statement than asking for a loaf of bread. And today, we'll explore our need for God's provision in our life. My message today is titled "Food For Thought" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

Well, in our study of the Lord's prayer, we come to that portion of the prayer in which Jesus taught us to pray give us this day our daily bread. Now, the truth is, our problem is not that we have too little bread, the problem for most of us is we have too much bread. So what does this verse mean? This verse is a sweet and quaint prayer that might've been applicable in Jesus' day, or it might even apply to many third world countries around the world today, but in America, who needs to pray for their daily bread? In fact, I would ask you how many of you actually sincerely ask God every day to provide the food that you need? We just don't do that, so what does it mean for us today? To follow Jesus' instruction and pray for our daily bread, that's what we're going to talk about this morning.

If you have your Bibles, turn to Matthew 6, we're in a series called prayers that really work. Prayer is the channel through which we receive God's power in our life, and Jesus in Matthew 6 taught us how to pray, he didn't say pray this prayer, he said pray in this manner. This prayer is not a mantra to be repeated word for word, it is a model to follow in effective praying. And remember, we've seen so far that when we pray, we always begin with our focus on God, he is our focus when we begin with, and we start with praise, our father, daddy, Abba who is in heaven, holy is your name. We're to remember that God is different, he is separate than we are. And because God is separate and different than we are, it only follows that after praise, we ought to be thinking about his priorities, not ours. And that's why we pray thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth and in my life as well.

There's that submission to the priorities of God when we begin to pray. But I want you to notice how the emphasis shifts when we get to verses 11 and 12. In the early verses, the emphasis is on thy name, thy kingdom, thy will, now notice how the emphasis shifts to our needs, notice the personal pronouns in verses 11 and 12, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors, and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. We have three basic needs in life, we need provision, our daily bread, we need pardon from sins, that is forgiveness, and we need protection from adversity. And Jesus says there's nothing wrong and everything right with going to your heavenly daddy, your papa, and telling him what your needs are. And that's what we're going to talk about today, we're going to talk about this first of three needs every one of us here has this morning, whether you realize it or not, and that is for God's provision in our life. What does it mean to pray for our daily bread?

Now, somebody has said we all need three things, we need something to put in, that is food and water, we need something to put on, that is clothing, and we need something to put over us, that is shelter, to protect us from the elements and adversity. Something to put in, something to put on, and something to put over. And Jesus said when you come to your Heavenly Father, ask him to provide for those things. Martin Luther, in commenting on what bread means in this passage says, "Everything necessary for the preservation of this life is, quote, bread. This includes food, a healthy body, good weather, a house, a wife, children, good government, and peace". I think that's what Jesus had in mind. When he said pray for our daily bread, he's saying God, give me the things I need physically in order to survive.

Now, that of course leads to a second question, why should we pray this prayer? Why do we really need to ask God to daily take care of our physical needs when it really doesn't seem we need him to do that? I mean, do you really ask God to give you the food you need for that day? I forgot where I was when I heard a mother say whenever I announce dinner time around the house, my kids automatically jump in the car, knowing we're going to McDonald's. They don't even need their mother to provide food, mickey d's will do that for a lot of people. So why do we ask God to provide our food? It's very hard to pray this sincerely for some people, because most people know that after they get up off their knees asking God to provide for their daily needs, they're the ones who have to go out and earn the bread to buy the bread, don't they? I mean, we're the ones who have to work, we're the ones responsible for providing for ourselves and our family. Why are we asking God to do this? I think there are two answers to that, I think Jesus tells us to pray this prayer, first of all, to encourage our dependence upon God. This prayer reminds us of our ultimate dependence upon God.

Now, it is true, and I want you to follow me on this, it is true that work is the channel through which God pours his provision into our life, that's always been God's plan, that through our work, we would receive the money, the resources we need to take care of ourselves and our family. In 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul said, "If any person does not provide for his own, especially those of his own household, he's worse than an unbeliever and is denied the faith". 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul said this is my rule, "If a man does not work, neither shall he eat". Now, that's not always easy to find a job to work, there are some of you right now who are suffering unemployment. I say this to you this morning not to make you feel guilty, you would love to work if you could find a job. What I'm saying is God's method, usually, of providing for us is through the jobs that he gives us. But now follow me on this, even though work is the channel through which God pours his blessings in our life, ultimately, all of our physical provisions come from the hand of God. He's the one ultimately responsible for meeting all of our physical needs.

For example, the Bible teaches that God is the one who provides our food, God's the one who provides it. Listen to Genesis 1:29-30, "Then God said, behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed, and it shall be food for you. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food, and it was so". God's the one who gives us food. Now, some of you are thinking yeah, yeah, yeah, pastor, but ultimately, the reason I get my paycheck is because of my ingenuity, my creativity, my hard work, that's what puts the bread on the table. Now, in case you're ever tempted to think that, remember, God not only provides your food and clothing, the Bible says he performs your abilities. He gives you your abilities to even make wealth, God provides our abilities.

Look at Deuteronomy 8:18, "But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who is giving you the power to make wealth". Everything you have comes from God. In 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul asked the Corinthians a very, very probing question, he said Corinthians, "What is it you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it"? In other words, Paul was saying Corinthians, take an inventory of everything you have in life. As you look over that inventory, what is it that cannot ultimately be traced to the hand of God? It all comes from God. I mean, think about it, even the breath you take in every day to give you the energy to go to work, that breath of life comes from God himself. We are dependent upon God whether we realize it or not. Even the ability to make money comes from him. Whether most of us realize it or not, most of us in this room, most of us watching on television, we're only one accident, one illness, one lawsuit away from financial poverty. We all depend upon God whether we understand it or not.

Proverbs 18:11 says, "A rich man's wealth is his strong city, and in his own mind, his own imagination, an unscalable wall". Wealthy people think they don't need God. They think, I've got enough money to protect me without needing God. Ladies and gentlemen, none of us has enough money that we don't need God. We depend upon him ultimately for everything we have in our lives. And that's why Jesus said, praying for your daily needs is a way to remind yourself of your need, your dependence upon God. Secondly, Jesus taught us to pray this prayer because this prayer discourages materialism. It encourages dependence upon God, but at the same time, it discourages materialism. When Jesus taught us to pray for our needs, he didn't say give us this day our daily T-bone steak to consume, he didn't say give us this day our new BMW to drive, instead he said give us this day our daily bread.

In Philippians 4:19, Paul said, "And my God shall supply all your" what? "All of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus". It didn't say my God shall satisfy all of your greed. Instead, he will satisfy all of your needs. And by the way, this morning, if you're one of those who has been blessed materially, if you're one of those people who has been blessed materially, realize it's not so you can spend it on yourself. Yes, there's nothing wrong in having nice things at all, Paul said in Philippians 4, "I've learned to be content in whatever circumstance I'm in". I've learned how to abound, that is to experience wealth, but I've also learned how to suffer need, I've learned to be content in whatever circumstance I'm in. If God has granted you great wealth, it's not to spend on yourself, but it's to further the Kingdom of God.

I think about one couple in our church, they've got enough money, man, they could build mansions all around the world if they wanted to, they could have all these jet airplanes, they could have a luxurious life, but they came to the understanding that's not why God granted them wealth, in fact, God told this man, he said I want you to start a business, and I want you to use all the profits of that business to further my work around the world. He could've spent the rest of his life chasing a golf ball around a golf course somewhere, but instead, he used that power to make wealth to further the Kingdom of God. And that's the reason God blesses Christians with material wealth, not to spend it on themselves, but on his kingdom's work. The Bible says when we pray this prayer, give us this day our daily bread, it's just a way to remind us not only that we depend upon God, but also to remind us that the goal in life is not the accumulation of assets.

It's like Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:8, "If we have food and covering, with these things we should be satisfied". If we have enough to put in, enough to put on, something to put over our heads, we ought to be content. Now, we've talked about what God means when he says our daily bread, he's talking about all of our physical provisions. Why do we pray this prayer? It reminds us of our dependence upon God, it discourages materialism, but the most basic question that came to my mind when I read this verse is one that most of us are afraid to voice out loud, we don't want to be struck by a lightning bolt, but it's a question most all of us have, and that's the question can I really trust God to meet my physical needs? Can I really depend upon God to treat my physical needs? Why would anybody ask that? The answer's obvious when you look around the world and see that hundreds of millions of people are going to bed hungry every night.

The children around the world are starving to death. Isn't it natural to ask the question, God, how can I really depend upon you to take care of me when you're doing such a poor job of taking care of other people? Have you ever wondered that? I mean, that's what I wondered when I read this verse, God, how can I be sure you're going to take care of my physical needs when you're letting people starve to death around the world? I think there are really two answers to that question, two insights from scripture, first of all, we need to understand that unbelievers do not have the guarantee of God's provision. Unbelievers do not have a guarantee of God's care and provision in their life. I know that's politically incorrect to say, but it's the truth of God's word. There is no promise anywhere in scripture when God says I'm going to take care of every man, woman, and child on planet earth, never did God promise that, he only promises to take care of the righteous.

Listen to Psalm 33:18 and 19, David said, "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, upon those whose hope in his mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in time of famine". Who does God listen to, who does God care for? Those who are the righteous, the unrighteous have no guarantee of God's protection. In fact, look through the Bible, you'll find in the Old Testament God used famine many times to bring his judgment upon people. In the future during the tribulation, God will use famine to bring his judgment upon unbelievers, it shouldn't be surprising that God would use famine today. Not only in a passive way, but as an active way, as a source of his judgment. John MacArthur makes an interesting insight, he says that the nation's spirituality, many times, determines its level of prosperity.

Wherever there are Christian principles, in a nation like ours, founded on Christian principles, there is always a high view of human life. And because we have a high view of human life in our country, we take care of peoples' physical needs. But you go to third world countries, there isn't a high view of life. Many times, the country's lack of spirituality or their worship of false religions leads to a low view of human life. Many times, the problem is a spiritual problem, and many times, famine is a judgment of God upon the earth. How do you answer the question of how can we trust God when there's so much poverty and so much hunger in the world? Well, one insight is God never promised to take care of everybody in the world. He certainly never promised to take care of unbelievers. But there's a second part of that, and that is believers, people who are related to God through Jesus Christ, do have the promise that God will meet their needs. God has promised to meet the needs of Christians.

Listen to Psalm 34:9 to 10, we read it just a moment ago, "O fear the Lord, you his saints, for to those who fear him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing". The animals go hungry, but they who fear the Lord are not going to lack any good thing. Or listen to David's words in Psalm 37:25, "I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging for bread". David said at the end of us life as I look back, I cannot one time say I have ever seen a righteous person who has suffered any need. Now, when I read that this week, you know what my first thought was? I want to tell you how unholy your pastor is, my first thought was when I heard David say I have never seen any righteous person lack any good thing, my first thought was David, you need to get out of the palace more often. You need to see life as it really is, you need to take those kingly blinders off of your eyes, go out and walk with the common people and you'll see many believers, many righteous people who suffer need.

Hasn't that been the testimony of history? That there have been Christians who have suffered great need, there are Christians right now around the world who are suffering great need. Listen to this description of how the first century believers lived from Hebrews 11:36 and 37, "And other experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword, they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, and ill-treated". And yet David said those who seek the Lord shall never be in want. How do you reconcile those two truths? God said I'm going to meet the needs of every true believer, and yet we look around and see believers suffering want. I think one writer said it best when he observed this promise applies to every Christian for as long as God has him on this earth. God will take care of your need, not your greeds, but your need as long as you are here upon the earth. But when God is ready to take you from this world to the next world, he might use any number of means to transport you from this life into the next life.

The Bible says this perishable body has to put on the imperishable, this mortal must put on immortality. In other words, death is a necessary transition from this life into the next life, and God, many times, uses different vehicles to carry us into the next world. Sometimes he uses illness, sometimes he uses what we call an accident, sometimes he might even use physical needs and hunger, and even starvation to bring us into his presence. In January of 1852, the lifeless body of a man named Allen Gardiner, a missionary in England, was found in a shipwreck off of tierra del fuego. Allen Gardiner and his team had been on a mission journey when they were shipwrecked, and they waited there on that island for a rescue team, they waited weeks upon weeks, and as they were waiting for the rescue team, they watched their rations of water and food slowly diminish.

During that time of starvation, Allen Gardiner kept a spiritual journal which the rescue team discovered once they came too late, and in that journal, Allen Gardiner wrote what God was doing in his life during those times of dehydration and starvation. In one journal entry, he said that his thirst had become almost intolerable. Allen Gardiner and his team died on that island, alone, isolated, physically broken, and yet, throughout that ordeal, their faith in God remained strong. A later entry in that journal, Allen Gardiner, with his own hands, wrote out the verse that we read just a moment ago, Psalm 34:9 and 10, now listen, here's the words of a man who is starving to death on an island, he wrote, "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing".

The last entry in his journal, written in the feeble handwriting that would accompany starvation, the very last line in that journal were these words, Allen Gardiner managed to write, "I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God". Isn't that amazing? Starving to death, I'm overwhelmed by a sense of the goodness of God. God promises to take care of every need you have until he's ready to take you from this life into the next one. But until that time, his provision is certain. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, "Do you think that the God who names the stars and calls them by name, do you think that God is about to forget one of his own children"? God knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature he ever made, and the only saint he ever loved. God will take care of you.
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