Today I thought I would do a bit of theology.  To begin with, here is a series of three passages from the Bible (two short ones from the New Testament and one more lengthy from the Hebrew Bible), which, when combined, create what I believe is an interesting picture.

First: “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

Second: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25, 34)

And third: “That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was.

“Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: “Each one is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.”

“The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Each one had gathered just as much as they needed.

“Then Moses said to them, ‘No one is to keep any of it until morning.’

“However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.” (Exodus 16:13-20)

And now for the theology (I’m a professional, but it’s okay if you try this at home). 

Gather enough for today, said Moses, and don’t try to keep any for tomorrow. If you do, it will be full of maggots and stink. God rescued the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and then took them toward the Promised Land. Along the way, they faced numerous problems. But God always took care of them, on the day, at the moment, when they needed it.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:6 that what the Israelites went through were written as “examples” to “keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”

The example from the Israelite’s experience in traveling to the Promised Land serves to illustrate Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. In what we now call “the Lord’s Prayer” Jesus said we should ask God to give us food for today. And then he went on to say, after a discussion pointing out the impossibility of serving both God and money, that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow. We instead, should be satisfied with what we have today. Today’s bread is enough. You can’t eat tomorrow’s bread ahead of time.

The present is all we really ever have. Jesus told his disciples that they should trust God to take care of their needs for today. The Israelites had been taken out of Egypt by God; they were doing what God wanted—going to the Promised Land—and yet they still struggled and faced hardships and opposition. They were scared, they worried and yet, despite their imperfections, despite their disobedience, through 40 years of wandering, God never stopped taking care of them. Each morning, the manna showed up and fed them for a day. If they tried to hedge their bets and save some for tomorrow, it ended up growing maggots and stinking. Tomorrow’s bread stinks. Tomorrow’s bread is worry. Tomorrow’s bread is not trusting God.

Worry will give you nothing but maggots and a bad smell. Nothing good ever comes from that sinking feeling, the hole in your gut, the knot in your stomach. They are maggots. And yet, no matter how obvious God’s care for you yesterday, every day, and today the worry will rise up about tomorrow. Every problem, every obstacle, the fear will settle in your gut, the heart will pound, and the stink of sweat will make you miserable. And so each day, you die a little, suffering because of tomorrow’s bread.

The apostles told Jesus, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. (Luke 17:5-6)

Jesus points out that the smallest seed that the people he was speaking to knew about was the mustard seed (Mark 4:31). It amounted to nothing, and yet it could produce a large tree. Jesus didn’t tell the people that they needed faith the size of that large tree. He told them they needed faith the size of the tiniest seed. Faith that was insignificant, barely noticeable. Easily lost.

Jesus said that if you have faith the size of that miniscule mustard seed—you can move mulberry trees. His point being, of course, that it isn’t the size of your faith that saves you. It is the size of your God.

Don’t let tomorrow’s bread make today stink.

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