Give us this day our daily bread – more than enough to share, with plenty left over.
Read the story of the feeding of the 5000. The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle – aside from the resurrection – recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:31–44; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1–14). Choose any gospel account. Or read them all.
If you are participating in this Bible study as a group, you might like to use “Dwelling in the Word” as a practice, with sheets for reflection from Grow Ministries, available for free to download online in their store.
What stood out to you? Did you hear something you haven’t heard before?
How much was left over after everyone had eaten? What do you think the significance of this is?
Have you ever watched God’s economy in action – a need you had filled in a way you didn’t expect, coincidentally as you also filled a need for someone else in a way they couldn’t have anticipated?
When Lee and I were first married, and upgraded Lee’s old Corolla to something more reliable, we called the Corolla “God’s car”. We would lend it to whoever needed it for however long. People were surprised but thankful that we were generous and trusting in this way.
When we went through Australian Lutheran College, with a baby and no income and the little Centrelink income we were entitled to as parents, God’s people provided for us in miraculous ways at the Salisbury Lutheran Church – and beyond, through our parents and grandparents and friends.
At just the right time, a meal, $100, an offer to babysit, or even a smile, would come my way and I would think “Thankyou God – for giving us today our daily bread”.
In his Small Catechism, Luther lets us know that God’s provision is gracious and generous, and not reliant on anything we do: “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 realise this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving”.
Living day to day financially, emotionally, or physically is no fun, and it is an act of faith for many people.
Our Lutheran congregations and Community Services provide support to people in need 365 days of the year. Beyond our own organisations, foodbanks and other local charities and helping agencies offer emergency relief, financial planning, and budgeting advice – but a life in poverty cannot be budgeted out of! At some point, the income must exceed the expenses for the poverty cycle to be broken.
This requires consistent generosity from the community, further education, employment opportunities, care for children, health services and secure housing. There are so many needs in our daily breadbasket!
In Second Corinthians, Paul promises the church that God has got them covered. And not just themselves, but others around them as well.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT) God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need, and plenty left over to share with others.
Food for thought and discussion:
What has God given you in plenty? What can you offer to share with others?
How can this attitude of abundance in God’s economy help you move forward in faith and trust, knowing that whatever you give away is to meet another’s daily bread needs; and that God will ensure your needs are met every day too?
Prayer: God of all good gifts – you give us everything we need for every day. And you give us the gifts of each other, and of a generous spirit. Help us to have open eyes to see all that you provide every day. Help us be thankful and generous with all that we have, so that the whole world can live in a sustainable economy – with each–and–every person’s needs met. Thank you for the organisations who do this care work at the coal face of poverty – here in Australia and overseas. Help us be generous in providing all they need to meet the needs of all your people in this world. Amen.