“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:41-42
“Give us each day our daily bread.” Luke 11:3
I find it interesting, that as Luke sat down to “write an orderly account” of the events of Jesus’ life on earth, that the teaching of Jesus on prayer immediately follows the account of His interaction with Mary and Martha. When reading these two stories together, it raises the question when asking for daily bread, “What is the one thing that is needed?“
Most of us live a life full of choices. So many choices that it becomes hard for us to pray for our daily bread because we can’t decide what it will be today. Do I want literal bread, and if so, should it be white . . . or wheat . . . or oat . . . or some specialty variety? Or perhaps I want my prayer for daily bread to be figurative. But then what do I ask for? . . . Steak & potatoes? . . . Seafood? . . . Italian? . . . Chinese? . . . Some combination of my favorite foods? We have such a hard time deciding, we often fail to ask for our daily bread – rather we settle with thanking God for the meal we decided on instead of asking Him to provide what we need.
Yet Jesus says there is one thing that is needed and Mary has chosen it. What could be so powerful, so fulfilling, so necessary that Jesus commends Mary for choosing it? We look at the text in Luke and we see that the one thing Mary did was she “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” That is it? Could Jesus Himself be the one thing that is needed? While not clearly stated, the idea is evident that Martha was greatly worried about the “daily bread”. The “preparations” for a guest surely would have included meals. Yet Jesus makes it clear that the preparations were not nearly as important as listening to Him.
That brings us back to asking for our daily bread. I have come to believe that Jesus is teaching a principle much greater than our simply giving a “thank you for the food” prayer at meals. To live, truly live, what bread do we need on a daily basis? In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Our daily bread must be Jesus!
Societies and cultures throughout history have relied on bread to sustain them when nothing else was available. As a matter of fact, this teaching of Jesus in John 6 comes in response to the people who were bragging about Moses providing bread from heaven so the Israelites could live. That is when Jesus replies that it was not Moses that gave bread to the people – it came from God. God gives a true bread from heaven, a bread that gives life to the world. That bread is Jesus.
In applying this principle, it is important that we ask, acknowledge, and thank God for providing all that sustains our physical bodies. It is even more critical that we recognize our daily need for the true bread of heaven, Jesus. We need to reach the point where we ask on a daily basis for Jesus to fill our life and to be our life. To understand that without Jesus each day, we starve to death. Then our focus changes when we pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” We pray more passionately, “Give me today Jesus!”
May Jesus be the bread that sustains us each day.