Luke 11:3 "Give us this day our DAILY BREAD."
What constitutes our "daily bread"? The panhandler on the corner of a city street seems to have a clear picture of it when he stretches forth his hand and begs, "Give me some bread, man!" To him, "daily bread" means money. Does the Bible agree with him? Is MONEY our "daily bread."
Imagine taking five loaves of bread and two fish and feeding 5,000 people! Did such a remarkable banquet really occur? Frankly, whether it did or not is irrelevant. What IS relevant to your life today is the MEANING of what supposedly took place in that far-off time. What principle is involved?
Look at verse 16 of Luke 9: "Then he took the five loaves and two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them....." This implies:
1. an ATTITUDE of prayer ("looking up to heaven") and
2. GRATITUDE for the food already available ("he blessed them" - the loaves and fishes).
The verse continues: "...and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude."
3. CONFIDENCE in God's capacity to meet the human need.
Then, reading on into verse 17: "And they did eat, and were all filled...."
4. DEMONSTRATION of spiritual supply translated to meet the human need.
The verse continues: "...and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets."
5. ABUNDANCE is what God decrees for man.
Put it this way: An attitude of gratitude breeds confidence in God's ability to demonstrate His goodness abundantly!
Thus, 5,000 people made a meal of five loaves and two fish multiplied with God's help. Does this apply also to money?
SELL THE OIL, AND PAY THE DEBT
II Kings 4:1-7
Here is a woman in great material need. A widow with children, creditors pressing her on every side, and she doesn't have a cent! All she has is a pot of oil.
What does she do?
First, she recognizes that her need exceeds her ability to meet it alone. She must seek help from a higher authority; thus, she turns to Elisha, a prophet, a man of God. Symbolically, she is looking to God for the solution. She has made a good start.
Then, she does exactly what Elisha tells her to do, no matter how it seems to go against physical law. She fetches several containers and shuts herself up in private with her sons, and together they pour oil from the original pot until every container is filled, and, still, there is some to spare.
The task completed, she returns to Elisha. What does he tell her to do next? "Go, sell the oil, and pay the debt." He is talking about money!
FOLLOWING THE RULES
The story of the widow and Elisha is marvelous in many ways. It illustrates everything discussed in Lessons One and Two thus far.
By following the rules, the widow got what she wanted and needed, in abundance. The inspiration, or idea, came from God, and this inspiration was translated into the money required for paying her debt and surviving in the world. She achieved a sense of income through prayer when no human avenue had previously been open to her.
- Fear not! In her extremity, she did not give way to fear and fall into a state of collapse. She did something about it. She sought out Elisha, her closest concept of God.
- Be a good shepherd! She did just what she was told to do. In this story, her "sons" are her thoughts which she gathered in to help her in the privacy of her mind, the chamber of thoughts, symbolized by shutting the door.
- Everything God has can be yours! The oil. which symbolizes spiritual inspiration, kept flowing.
- Maintain an attitude of prayer! The widow sought her answer in Elisha, in this sense symbolic of prayer.
- Express gratitude! She recognized that although everything else had been taken from her, she still had "a pot of oil," which here symbolizes her ability to see the smallest blessing as important.
- Have confidence! Confidently, she went to all the neighbors to borrow containers to fill with oil in response to Elisha's demand. What must they have thought of her, the widow woman who had nothing, carrying away jars as though she had something to put in them! But her confidence rested only in God, and not in human opinion.
- The demonstration will come! The oil flowed, as Elisha said it would.
- When it comes, it comes in abundance! Her "cup" ran over. She ran out of vessels to fill, but there was oil left over in "the little pot" she started with.
THE GOOD USES OF MONEY
In reading this reference, note that "they prayed"; they were "filled with the Holy Ghost" (were aware of their connection to God); they spoke "with boldness" (without fear); they "believed" (had confidence); they "were of one heart and of one soul" (single-mindedly in control of thought, i.e., good shepherds); they "had all things common" (SHARING); "with great power" they "gave witness" (demonstrated God's goodness); and "neither was there any among them that lacked" (abundance).
"Having land," they "sold it and brought the money" to the apostles.