“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 (NIV)
As I sat on the beach enjoying the sunrise I watched a few seagulls wander aimlessly, looking lost and confused. I wondered why there were so few, considering the normal flocks that swarm overhead filling the air with screeching cries.
Then I realized they had no reason to be on the beach, much less to be excited or active. There were no people around to generate crumbs.
I’m pretty sure seagulls can smell potato chip crumbs a mile away. They stay at a distance until they think someone has something they want. Then they come running – or should I say – dive bombing. Even if no birds are in sight, if one tiny crumb, potato chip or bread crust falls on the sand, suddenly dozens of seagulls swoop down out of nowhere.
Memories of hungry seagulls interrupting our picnics at the beach made me chuckle, and especially when I thought about that time when we buried my son in the sand up to his neck (because he wanted us to) and then playfully tossed few a potato chips on the mound of sand on top of him (of which he wasn’t wanting us to). Memories of his shrieks and laughter brought a smile to my face. But as I thought about those funny times, I felt God whisper to my spirit: Sometimes Tracie, you are just like those hungry seagulls. It was a humbling thought, but also, eye opening and made me think.
In Matthew 6, Jesus shares with His disciples how to pray, in what is commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer.
Today’s key verse is taken from the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. In it Jesus reminds His disciples to stay in close union with Him through prayer, because He knows they need the spiritual nourishment and physical necessities only He can provide. Jesus calls His disciples to seek Him and trust His provision for their daily needs. It’s easy to allow ourselves to think that surely life wasn’t all that stressful in biblical times. They didn’t have the hustle and bustle of a modern world, traffic, technology, busy kid’s schedules, etc., etc. But stress has been present in every generation, and Jesus knew that staying connected with Him was the answer to that stress.
Unfortunately, there are times I don’t follow this wisdom and instruction. I may go days or weeks, aimlessly wandering like those seagulls on a deserted beach – flying through my busyness and routines, without consciously seeking God. Without really stopping to pray. Without spending time in His Word. Without being still long enough to hear His voice.
But as soon as something happens that makes me mad, sad, worried, frustrated, discouraged, panicked or stressed – believe me, I fly straight to God. Swooping in out of nowhere, I dive bomb into His presence. Expectantly, I wait for Him to give me a profound thought or an answer to prayer. Suddenly, I’m starving for His Presence. In essence, I anxiously wait for Him to toss me some crumbs of spiritual encouragement. Stress increases, because not only may I not hear from God right away, but because my heart was not prepared to face this struggle to begin with.
Unlike a seagull who seeks temporary satisfaction from random crumbs, I want to be consumed with a spiritual hunger that’s never satisfied. A hunger that pains me if I fail to get a daily portion of God’s wisdom, love and guidance. A hunger that when met, replaces my discouragement, worry and stress, and keeps me from ever getting to the desperation point.
I don’t want to live with a seagull mentality, being satisfied with mere crumbs. Instead I want to enjoy the fullness of God’s presence and a constant supply of His Word and His Presence each and every day.
Dear Lord, I so need more of You each day in my life. Help me to develop such a hunger and thirst for You and Your Word that I make spending time with You a priority, no matter what else is calling for my attention. Amen.
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THIS WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT IS CHAPTERS NINE AND TEN
I always want to live life less stressed, and more peace-full.
What about you? What can you do this week to embrace the ‘more than crumbs’ mentality towards your faith?