Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
We all want what it is that we want. There is no getting around this. I remember, when growing up, that there was a song called “I want to be rich”. The reason that the singer wanted to be rich? If the lyrics could be believed, it was for “love, peace, and happiness”. Hate to say it, but being rich doesn’t bring you any of that. Good luck.
In the every day world of work, we still have the issue of people wanting what they want. One of the most common things I hear is that complaint of wanting a higher pay rate. Others complain that their benefits aren’t enough, and that someplace else could provide better benefits, with more pay. Then there are the complaints of no upward mobility, that is to say that there simply are no opportunities for a promotion. Alas, I am guilty of this last one.
I guess the question all comes down to this: What do we really need? More to the point, what do we need for today necessarily? Honestly, I can’t say that I rightly know. Perhaps there are some who do need a pay raise, or perhaps they should move to another employer for a chance at better benefits. Really, it just isn’t for me to say. What about my complaint? I don’t rightly know if I even deserve a promotion, and that is just being honest with myself.
Perhaps we should just ask that first question, again. What do we need for today?
Let that sink in for a moment. What are your needs for today? Do you have food? Do you have a safe place to sleep? Do you have clothes? If you answered “Yes” to these, then you really have all that you need. You may not necessarily have what you want, but you do have what you need.
What do I mean?
In the Small Catechism, as we study the Lord’s Prayer, we have this odd verse:
Give us this day our daily bread.
Living in the world that we do, the idea of “daily bread” is a bit at odds with everything we see on television and the internet. Advertising agencies would have us believe that we need a hot, overpriced, coffee. Likewise, they want us to think that we need to eat food at a chain of restaurants that specialize in quickly ordered entries that probably shouldn’t even be called food. Even worse, their entire industry is founded on the premise that you should be consuming this stuff daily, never mind that it might not necessarily be good for you.
What then is daily bread? How do we understand what Christ Jesus meant? Perhaps that is best answered in the words of the Catechism, where it reads:
What does this mean?–Answer.
God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread?–Answer.
Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
Huh? Didn’t I actually list some of that stuff just a moment ago when asking what you have? Yes. Oddly, there is nothing here about being wealthy. Why? Because daily bread is just that, it is daily. It is what we need just for today.
It is not necessarily sinful to want something nice. However, if you want it simply because you want to look important, your motivation might be wrong. Perhaps it would be better to simply focus on what you need for today.
Christ Jesus didn’t come to make us wealthy, I don’t care what Joel Osteen says. Christ Jesus came and died upon the cross to give us what we needed most. Forgiveness of sins, and the assurance that death wasn’t the end. That he did. In that, there is a far greater wealth than is ever possible here on earth. As this was God’s will, and it was to bring the Kingdom of God to a fallen humanity.
What does this mean?
In simple terms, it means that we should be grateful to God for the blessings we receive daily. Yes, we should also be grateful when we receive something beyond what is necessary for today. However, we are only promised today, and that is all we ever really have.
So, despite our desire for raises, more benefits, promotions, and a host of other possible things one might want from their employer, there is only one thing that is necessary. We should be grateful to have a job, whereby we can have food, clothes, and a safe place to sleep at night. All of this is a blessing, and a gift from God.