And give us this day, our daily bread.
These familiar words from The Lord’s Prayer/The Our Father found in Matthew 6 are stitched on a cross-stitch that used to hang above my grandma’s kitchen table. Now it hangs above ours.
The phrase makes me think of three things.
The first one has to do with the daily bread – manna – given day-by-day to the children of Israel while wandering in the desert, building their faith in God that was sufficient to care for them in every need.
Also I think of the famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette when she learned the poor were complaining that they didn’t have enough bread to eat and she said simple “Let them eat cake.”
But here’s the one that might be a stretch for you. I so love this analogy. And I don’t think you’ll soon forget it. What if instead of daily bread, you got daily M&M’s?
You wake up in the morning and you find your daily allotment of M&M’s. You count them, marveling at the colors, the funny shapes if they are peanut M&M’s (which mine are but yours can be peanut butter or plain or whatever you want). You want to eat them all, right now, really fast, before anyone else sees them. But then you remember – they have to last you all. day. long. These are your daily M&M’s.
And the truth is, you don’t get them all to yourself. Immediately you start handing them out to people – your spouse, your kids. People are taking for you, and your tank of M&M’s right from the start.
Then it’s off to work, or meetings, or volunteering, even Bible study. More M&M’s gone. Less for you.
It’s time for investing in the kids : playing, homeschooling, a field trip. M&M’s come out like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine.
And then your spouse. S/he wants their M&M’s too – your time, attention, affection. You give your remaining M&M’s to them.
What if our daily M&M’s are our daily bread – they are everything we need to sustain us each and every day, but we get them all up front, so God teaches us, grows us, and wants us to use the common sense He gave us to ratio them out well?
On a typical day, without even really thinking, I just hand out my M&M’s left and right as my time and attention go here and there. My commitments increase. My to-do list grows. My day gets busier. I get to the end of the day, and my kids get scraps. The broken pieces. My husband, if he’s lucky, gets the crumbs. And me, I’m left with nothing to put in my tank.
Dr. Rob Rienow talks about this in his book Visionary Parenting. He says that he knew the right answer to the question “If you had a church emergency and a home emergency at the same time, what is your priority?” [home] but that his every day didn’t match that. In fact, it was the inverse.
He was giving his M&M’s to the wrong people.
What if you started your day instead with your allotted M&M’s and said “Look, I know God wants this many of my M&M’s right off the top. My next priority is my spouse. S/he needs this many. My kids need this many. I need this many. And ok, I have this many left. Now I will hand them to others in friendship, at work – and yes, even at church.
See, I don’t think God wants us to be busy for the sake of being busy. He’s given us talents to use for His glory. So I may have to withhold my M&M’s/talents/daily bread from an activity that isn’t mine to do, to keep in line with the priorities God has given especially to me.
Might this mean that *gasp* something goes undone?
And maybe that means that you need to redistribute your M&M usage.
And maybe that means someone else needs to redistribute theirs.
I think that daily bread gives us an image of many things. Some people won’t have anything to eat today, much less cake or M&M’s. But if it’s a portion of time and talent to get us through till tomorrow, maybe we are learning how to align our priority’s with His.
You will never think of M&M’s the same way again. I know I don’t.