In many countries today, we no longer rely on what we grow on our own plots of land for our food. We have become, at least to some extent, distanced from the process of planting, growing, harvesting, preparing and even cooking (if we buy “ready meals” or takeaways). Does this make it harder to realise our dependence on God to provide for us and be thankful?
In a society where people would watch and tend their own food as it grew, there was a very real awareness that they depended on the right weather, the seed sprouting and growing to maturity if they were to have crops to eat. When others grow our food for us, it is easy to forget these things until suddenly disaster strikes and the nation’s crops are threatened by drought or flood.
Prayers in the Bible encourage us to remember God as the provider and our dependence on Him:
- “Give us each day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3, NIV)
- Psalm 104 celebrates the fact that God provides water for the animals, makes the grass grow for cattle and plants for people to eat, provides homes for the animals, grants food even to the frightening creatures of the depths of the seas and gives breath and life itself.
- In 1 Chronicles 29:14, David acknowledges that even the offerings the he and his people bring are in fact provided by God.
In fact, we could say that we have even more that we could be grateful for and even more reasons to praise God. Besides giving thanks for a successful harvest, we can thank God for those who are involved in all stages of bringing food and other goods into our homes – farmers, lorry drivers, shop assistants, to name but a few.
Prayer is a time to remind ourselves that we are, in fact, dependent on God the Provider. Without God, we would have nothing – we wouldn’t even exist! Saying grace at meal times is a simple reminder that God provides our food and is an opportunity to give thanks. Yet, there is so much more that we can thank God for providing at every point of the day.
Realising that we are dependent is a humbling experience. We discover that God is at the centre of things, not us. We look to God for life and breath, food and drink, work and shelter, forgiveness and blessing.
What has God provided for you today that you might give thanks for? Are there any areas of your life where you have forgotten your dependence and tried to become independent?
© Joe Lenton, July 2012