Links Daily Devotional

The Blessing of Provision

Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. (Matthew 15:36, NIV)

We’ve all heard a good golf story. We’ve also heard some pretty long-winded ones.

It seems no matter the subject, some people talk too much. More surprisingly, perhaps, some of those people are praying.

Now you may take umbrage at this idea. Really? Can one pray too much? The answer is probably no. But when you start matching up some of the prayers of your friends with some of the prayers of Scripture, you might agree that it is at least OK to make the suggestion that it would be all right sometimes to, as they say, cut to the chase.

Sometimes, friends, our voices are clearest and finest when they carry the snappy trill of a flute rather than the gravity of an orator.I think of this often when a man who has not prepared the hot meal takes up praying over it and does so until my green beans are cold. I hate cold green beans, but I suppose that is another matter. What isn’t another matter is that when Jesus readied to break bread, he apparently didn’t think he needed to say much in prayer. We are told that at the feeding of the 5,000, at the feeding of the 4,000, and at the feeding of the Twelve on the night of his betrayal, Jesus “gave thanks” and broke the bread.

So exactly how long does it take to thank God for a meal? A few words, I’m thinking.

Now I absolutely do not mean to minimize your prayer life. There’s too much at stake there in terms of your relationship with God. And I definitely don’t want you skipping over the grateful recognition of God’s provision. But that is my whole point. Provision is practical, and perhaps our prayers for that provision should be too.

What do I mean? Well, many would have us think that God really isn’t one to be bothered with the stuff of earth. He’s too transcendent for that. But look at these words of Isaiah, when the prophet promised a restored life for God’s people:

He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. (Isaiah 30:23-24)

This is the stuff of earth God is providing. No streets of gold here, no lofty heavens. God is giving in the spirit of Psalm 145:16: “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

It’s a practical giving that provokes a practical response. Not theology, or even mission—just simple, straightforward thanksgiving.

“And you will sing,” Isaiah went on to write, “as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.”

Sometimes, friends, our voices are clearest and finest when they carry the snappy trill of a flute rather than the gravity of an orator. Let your heart be filled with thanks and may prayers fit the hour!

Jeff Hopper
March 1, 2016
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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.