The Dailies #1: Dependency

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

I am so excited about this new series John began this weekend! The series is titled “The Dailies”. We began this weekend with Dependency and we will continue looking at daily habits that will give us the momentum we need to create traction in our lives.We are being invited to discover daily disciplines that lead to our becoming true disciples of Jesus.

So this week’s “daily” is dependency. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he included the words “Give us today our daily bread”. John reminded us that this prayer is intended to be a reflection of dependency, not a demand. Because demands, well, they create expectations. Expectations, whether met or unmet, create reactions within us. Unmet expectations create disappointment, fear and resentment. When our expectations are met, however, it creates a sense of entitlement. We are tempted to think-especially when it comes to God-that we’ve found the formula, we’re doing something right. This sounds a whole lot like eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that we talked about last month. (That post can be found here: Two Trees)

Dependency, unlike demand, produces gratitude. Gratitude, by nature, is full of humility and void of demands. Grateful dependency acknowledges that we have need and that we cannot provide for our own need. It recognizes the Giver and thanks Him for the gifts. It lives in the now, in the present moment, and it lives fully alive and aware of this day.

John read this passage out of Deuteronomy:

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.                                        Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (emphasis mine)

Cities you did not build… Houses filled with amenities you did not provide… Fresh, flowing water from wells you did not dig… A harvest you did not plant…

This short list applies to me and you, too, doesn’t it? In fact, I could add many more things that I have but did not provide for myself. The list of all that I have been given is extensive. What about you?

Be careful that you do not forget the Lord…

I believe that most who will read this are like me, in that excess is part of our lives. Excess in itself is not a bad thing.But we are in danger of forgetting the Lord when our dependency shifts from the Giver to what has been given. What do you do with your excess? What do I do with mine? Do we even see the excess that we possess or are we so living from a place of lack that we cannot see the abundance of what we’ve been given?

When John talked about our daily bread, he referenced Proverbs 30:8-9:

 … give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

He offered that when we live from a place of lack, when we desire excess so we can relax and live more comfortably, we completely bypass asking God for our daily bread and we ask for (demand, perhaps?) the entire bakery.

Here’s the thing about the bakery, though–it looks great and offers a sense of security, but it’s too much for one day. None of us need that much bread for today. There is so much excess in the bakery.

Yet, many of us have been given the whole bakery…

What are we doing with what we’ve been given? Do we even recognize that we have been given the bakery? There are so many thoughts swirling in my mind around this concept.

If God wants us to live dependent on Him for our daily bread, why has He given so many of us a whole bakery? What do we do with all the extra at the end of each day? Do we wrap it up safely and put it in the freezer to store it for another day? Just in case tomorrow’s manna doesn’t come?

Bakeries don’t save their excess bread. The mark of a good bakery is that it is filled with the freshest bread each day. Old bread gets stale and hard and eventually goes bad, regardless of how it is stored. Bakeries do one of two things with their leftovers:

They either throw it away… or they give it away

What are we doing with all of our excess? Are we trying to hoard it, save it, fearful of a day when we might find ourselves without enough? Are we eating our fill and carelessly discarding the rest? Or are we eating today’s bread with open hands and grateful hearts, living present in each moment, taking only what we need and giving the rest away?

John said, “Living in the moment today displaces the fears of tomorrow”, and that, “Daily dependence reminds us of God’s faithfulness”. He reminded us that today is all we have. Today is all we need. And today is all we can handle. He also said that what we do with our today impacts our tomorrow.

I can think of no better way to impact tomorrow than to give the excess of today away. To gratefully receive today’s bread, humbly take only what I need and trust that tomorrow’s manna will be enough. Trusting that God will show up again tomorrow allows us to live with open hands, willing to let go of the extra we don’t need so that someone else can have what they need. May our lives be marked by grateful dependency on the Giver of all that we need…

–Laura

Some years ago, my husband’s former college roommate came to visit us. We were hanging out in the kitchen, delicious food bubbling away on the stove–my high school age kids were in the kitchen with us and we were laughing and enjoying one another’s company. John Boy, as we affectionately call him, asked the question “Does the present really exist? Think about it…as seconds tick by it’s past, future, past, future, past, future…Is there really such a thing as the present?” Even though he was being silly, I pondered that question for years. I still ponder it from time to time.

In John Chapter 11, Martha is grieving and a little miffed at Jesus for not having shown up before her brother Lazarus died. She says to him…“Lord… if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Past tense. She goes on to say… “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Present tense. Jesus assures her that Lazarus will rise again, and her response takes her out of the present and into future tense: “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Then Jesus makes a powerful, powerful statement:
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus refers to himself, his state of being in the present tense.

                                                  I AM.  

He tells us that present tense living, present tense believing in him, leads to life. The one who believes in me now, in this moment…

Isaiah 26:3 gives us a glimpse of what this looks like: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (ESV) The verbs are in the present tense.

As I write this, I am in my daughter’s house in Alabama with my precious 9 month old granddaughter. We live far away from her, so every moment we have together is precious. In the past, I have robbed myself of the gift of the present by living in countdown mode—”I only have this many days left, this many hours left”— I am through with that!!!! It robs me of the joy of this moment. So yesterday when she took a nap and held my hand for 30 minutes, I did not think about what I had to do next. I relished the moment. When I fed her and rocked her to sleep, I did not think about what I had to do next. The moment I was in was precious, so I chose to step out of time and allowed that moment to be all I focused on.

After listening to John’s sermon and being in a place to observe the actions, the total dependence  of this little one, I am keenly aware that she has no thought of ticking seconds. When she senses a need, she communicates that she has a need. When she plays, she constantly looks back to make sure that she is being watched– that she hasn’t been left alone, and (my favorite) she frequently crawls to me (or her mommy or daddy), climbs over our legs, connects with us by touch and then heads off again. She imitates our actions, our sounds as she learns to become like us, she responds to us as we respond to her, and in the really precious moments, this busy busy little girl rests in our arms and lets us hold her close.

My desire is to remember this–to live like this in my relationship with Christ–connecting with him, taking my needs to Him, trusting Him to be present, not worried about yesterday or tomorrow, but knowing that He is more than sufficient in the now. I want to live in the “I Am” of Him-trusting Him for today’s bread, knowing that His presence In The Now is more than sufficient for all the moments of life.

–Luanne

enough-bread

6 thoughts on “The Dailies #1: Dependency

  1. Living in the “now” has been my process for months now. However, I’ve noticed one place in my life where satan just drags me out of that precious “now” back into yesterday. I don’t know why it’s a struggle but it is a great struggle for me in that one area to get back to “now”. Much pondering there…

    Just as there is no past or future there is no tomorrow either. All I have is today. Those words that John spoke rang deepest of all with me.

    Luanne, as you reflected on each precious moment with your beautiful granddaughter my mind went to Apt 302 in my building. There lies a beautiful elderly lady, surrounded by her family, who made a choice a week ago, to have no more procedures done on her. The doctors sent her home to die. They told her, at most, she had 2 weeks. Her family is besides themselves with grief but this sweet lady is radiant with excitement. Her family tries to not even sleep so as to not miss a moment. My sweet friend hopes sleep will speed up her passing. Much for me to ponder there as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The struggle to stay in the “precious now” as you put it is so real. We can experience the freedom of “now”, the joy that is only found in living in this moment, and still run either back to yesterday or headlong into the future… As you wrote about your friend, it occurred to me that maybe it’s easiest to live in the moment at the beginning of life, like little Kyra and at the end of life, like your friend for different reasons:
    For Kyra, daily dependence comes naturally. Worry, anxiety and the like haven’t yet crossed her sweet mind. For your friend, after experiencing all that fills a life-the good and the bad-maybe dependence also comes more naturally in that place? As she surrenders the desire for more life and looks beyond to the eternal, perhaps living in the moment becomes the natural response?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love that thought. While I have no explanation for sudden deaths, my nursing career brought me to a place of belief (with nothing to substantiate it other than my observations) that as people draw near to death they are prepared for it by Someone or some thing we can’t comprehend. I’ve watched many people die with the most serene and peaceful look on their faces, despite the pallor of death they nearly glowed. Then…much sadder…are those who die with anguish all over their almost contorted faces.

    As the “joke” goes, in life we come full circle: back to diapers, being spoon fed and drooling all over ourselves. Maybe there’s a divine truth that can replace that negative outlookl. We enter the world and everything about us says new life. Maybe we leave this world the exact same way and the blessed get tiny flashes of what’s ahead which would make sense of their countenance after their passing. Kyra looks behind her to be sure all her safe people are still there. I think my friend in Apt 302 is looking forward for her safe Person. Both she and Kyra make their way as best they can to make contact and feel reassured. It gives me hope to believe that is a possibility.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looking forward for her safe Person… I like that. And living in the present with the understanding that the present will soon become the future maybe? I don’t know… but I do know that those newly born and those nearest to death seem to have a better grasp on the present moment than those of us that find ourselves somewhere in the middle…
    –Laura

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Expectations… My life has been full of them and I have experienced both the disappointment and frustration when they are not met and the entitlement that has followed when they are met. I, like others, have spent a lot of my life always looking forward to (or dreading ) the next thing. And these were all things that had many expectations built up around them. I couldn’t wait for the day I could drive, the day I would go to college, the day I would get married or the exciting vacation coming up. Or I would look in the future at that dreaded thing and think, “things will be good once that’s over”. I’ve wasted so much time here. And so much of what was expected never turned out like I had planned anyway. How much have those expectations held us back from being who God created us to be? I have spent the last few days really thinking through and laying down all these expectations. Expectations I have of myself, my children, my husband, my friends, my time, my work… The list goes on and on. I want to simply be. To be content and grateful for the present moment that I’ve been given and to be totally dependent upon and trusting in God. Lord, help me to embrace the “what is” rather than dwelling on “what might be” or “what could have been”.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sumer, thank you for your comment! Expectations… so hard. God has been working on me for a month or two now regarding the “next big thing” mindset I didn’t realize I was living from. I started noticing that when there was nothing exciting coming up, I would feel down and my whole demeanor would shift a bit. Talk about a joy-killer! So I’ve been focusing more on Jesus and the joy He brings into every moment, the mundane and the exciting. Like you said, “I want to simple be”. Me too. God is teaching me. I, too, desire to live in daily dependence, embracing the present. The gift of now. Thanks for sharing your heart. I love your honest perspective! ❤–Laura

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s