Paul has an enthusiasm for exploring the world of faith and spiritual well being, which he wishes to share through all that he writes.
And so we pray as Jesus teaches. We pray for our daily bread; we pray for provisions and sustenance. He further instructs us: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7) There is no limit to what we can seek, or for what we can ask because there is no limit to that which God can provide.
Jesus tells us: "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear." (Matthew 6:25) We ask. We seek. And we do not worry. We are all precious and deserving in the eyes of God. Instead of thinking about winning the lottery, or finding a bagful of dollars, we turn our contemplation towards God's eternal love and ever flowing abundance. And we may find ourselves being making more enlightened choices, and to following more inspired paths. And we know that all doors will be opened to us, even if we are afraid to knock. We trust in Jesus to alleviate our fears and doubts, as we move forward in the realm of God's abundance.
Love and Money
Money is not proud, rude or self-seeking. It cannot possess these qualities any more than it can be patient and kind. Money can only possess that which we, its creators, breathe into it. We do not love money; we infuse it with love. We use it in loving ways and find that, like love, there is plenty more available.
Money is often presented as an object by which many things are measured. In the presence of love this role is greatly diminished, as the power of love is immeasurable and so becomes the more superior yardstick..
With love, gone is any notion of being deceitful or dishonest as a means to achievement. With love we do not worry about getting our fair share. God does not allocate nor does He need to budget. God does not rob Peter to pay Paul, as they say, so nobody loses when we receive. With love we see the needs of others and our desire for them to receive is stronger than that for ourselves. For love is, as Paul writes, "the most excellent way."
Another thing about love, as Paul and John -- the ones from Liverpool, remind us, is that money can't buy it! So fall in love, just not with money.
Gratitude and Appreciation
Gratitude is recognizing and acknowledging all the good that we experience in our lives, and all the good that surrounds us in this world. We are thankful for God's love and we show our appreciation by doing good things. Appreciation can also mean increase. We remember that before Jesus sent the small amount of loaves and fishes into the large crowd, he gave thanks. And we all know what happened after that. There was a significant increase in the food as it made its way through the crowd. One could say that the initial gift of love had appreciated as shown in the amount of leftovers. And in this way, through gratitude, good things grow. We do not need to wait -- Jesus gave thanks while the amount of bread was still meager. We too can give thanks. We are grateful that our desires are being fulfilled even as we continue to work towards them, and that our debts are already forgiven even as we continue to pay them down. Every penny is a blessing. We give thanks and we trust.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is more than a line on the bottom; it is the whole picture, which begins with the top line. This is what and how much is coming in and where it is coming from. We know it is our daily bread that is coming in. We know where it is coming from. We also know that our daily bread is more than provisions. It is God's grace and love, the grace and love that we receive, and then give away. The unlimited abundance of God will continue to flow to us when we allow it to flow from us. We do this by giving. We give assistance to others; we give our kindness and understanding. And then we give some more.
The bottom line is what we have to show for all our endeavors. What we have is the light of God's love in our life. And this is true for the bottom line, the top line, and everything in between. While we trust in Jesus to help relieve us from the burden of need, there is also the burden of wealth, for it may be difficult for the rich man to experience God's love if he becomes attached to his wealth, seeing the value in money merely as a means to material ends, forgetting that it is part of the natural abundance that is of God. He may even fall in love with it so much that he never seems to have enough, and worries about losing it. But with God all things are possible, and the rich man can live in the light of love when he uses his wealth in loving ways, enriching humanity, refreshing himself. In the apostle Paul's familiar phrase - something about the love of money being a root to all kinds of not so good things, we are reminded not to direct our love in worthier directions. Money itself is not a bad thing; it is the love of money that gets us into trouble. But there is no need to fear because whether we are in need or we are wealthy we can live in God's presence when we accept all that is given, then give it away to keep it coming. Some have taken a vow of poverty, and they are still clothed and fed, while others have chosen to give their way out of debt, finding that all they give is returned to them many times over. May we all do these things to some degree whenever we give, whenever we enrich, whenever we refresh.
The bottom line is that our daily bread is the good news of God's unlimited abundance. It's the good news of God's love.
All Bible passages are from The New International Version.
This article reflects my own thoughts regarding the Bible passages that I mention, and is not intended to contradict any traditional interpretations or any beliefs based on them.
© 2012 Paul K Francis