15And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”These verses are the focus of a great devotion in today's Our Daily Bread. Go here.
22He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Okay, you may say, if God provides our daily needs, why are there so many starving people? Good question!
In looking at the current disturbing inflation of food prices, some conclude that there is a worldwide food shortage. Not so, says Ian Sheldon, Andersons Professor of International Trade
Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at The Ohio State University. Says Sheldon:
"Food price inflation is due to a combination of factors: We are producing more food than ever, so there is no shortage of supply. There is more demand due to: a move to generate more biofuels, increasing demand for food in China and S.E. Asia, where people want more meat, and a drought in Australia affecting grain prices.Sheldon's prescription is no doubt part of the solution. Another part is in the haves, of which I am one as a middle income American, resolving to share with the have-nots. That should be part of our lifestyle.
“The answer may lie in technology – foods that are drought resistant or can grow in salt water.”
The reason we don't readily do that is, as Jesus intimates v. 32 above, fear. We're afraid that if we give away anything, there will be less for us.
At one level, of course, that's true. There will be less for us.
But we'll be giving away from our excess. For example, I'm a 54 year old man who's 5', 9" tall, weighing 178-pounds. According to this handy online calorie calculator, my daily intake should be 2487 calories. But the daily intake in the US is 3330 calories. Both in terms of our current crop yields and our needs, we've got plenty to give!
Now, back to that so-called "law of attraction." The idea behind it is that if you think about the things you want, they'll come your way. Want a new hot tub? A million bucks? Think about it, this "law" claims, and you'll get it.
Now, it's true that if you obsess on something sufficiently, you'll tend to make it a priority and tend also to mow your grandma down to get it. The headlines and gossip rags are filled with tales of wealthy businesspeople and oft-photographed celebs who have laid waste every important relationship in their lives--most tragically, their relationship with God--to get the baubles of the world. They've attracted more stuff to themselves than they will ever need...and some they'd just as soon flush.
But the fact is, Jesus doesn't promise His followers a life of ease. He promises a life of significance, purpose, and fulfillment to all who dare to follow Him. He also promises us our daily bread, enough to live each day, and He promises to be with us always. He's never welched on a promise!
[UPDATE: Among the many things I appreciate about Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Logan, Ohio, the congregation I serve as pastor, is the way in which the people respond to the needs of others. A few months ago, we began receiving food offerings for a local emergency food bank on the last Sunday of every month. The collection bins are always running over with food! What an awesome way to thank God for the gift of new life in Christ and the gift of each day.]