Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
Reflection: Cultivating Daily Bread
By John Tillman
What we think of as “daily bread” in affluent cultures is wealth beyond imagining in much of the world. Our lust for affluence has only grown more sharp-fanged since Richard Foster wrote about it in Celebration of Discipline in 1978:
“The lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic…because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy…Where planned obsolescence leaves off, psychological obsolescence takes over. We are made to feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they are worn out. The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality.”
Our disenchantment with prayer is not that we ask our Heavenly Father for daily bread, or a fish, or an egg, and he reneges. Our problem is that we ask our Heavenly Father for snakes and scorpions and then are upset when we don’t receive them.
Daily bread does include that which is required to sustain our lives. But daily bread is about more than sustaining our physical life. It is about sustaining our spiritual life. Daily bread refers to a daily need for God and purposely highlights the need for spiritual disciplines that are required for us to grow in faith.
Bread was a common symbol in Jewish culture of God’s Word and of spiritual nourishment and spiritual health. The purpose of food is growth and healthful energy. Our health and spiritual energy will be affected by our spiritual diet.
When it comes to our spiritual diet, we too often rely on packaged and processed foods eaten with little thought or art in preparation. In many ways, our spiritual health will benefit if we live less as spiritual content consumers and more as spiritual subsistence farmers—eating out of our own garden.
What maintains our spiritual health? The spiritual food we eat.
What are we eating? We eat what we have reaped.
What are we reaping? We reap what we have sowed.
What are we sowing? We are sowing the seeds we cultivate.
We pray that you will use the reflections we bring you each day to plant, tend, and cultivate God’s Word in your life.
Prayer: The Greeting
Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; O Lord my God, I will give your thanks for ever.
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Read more from Cultivation Means Tending
The gospel is a seed from the first garden, the garden of Eden. The seed of the woman, Jesus himself, is our salvation and we plant this seed in our own hearts.
Read more about Cultivation Is Supernatural
Harvest implies cultivation, but when it comes to faith, too many of us are hunter-gatherers.