This is why Paul states in 1 Timothy 4:4–5 that “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” When were all these things made holy? When God pronounced His divine permission to make use of them in chapters 1 and 9 of Genesis.
Sadly, our sense of self-sufficiency leads us frequently to forget this fundamental teaching of Scripture, and we thank ourselves for everything that we have. In a practical sense, we are like the Chaldeans about whom Habakkuk spoke in his book. These Chaldeans made a god out of their own strength and offered sacrifices to their nets (Hab. 1:15–16).
On one occasion, an elderly preacher asked a group of children:
“Where did the bread come from that you ate last night?”
“Mommy gave it to us,” they responded in unison.
“And where did mommy get it from?”
“From the bakery,” they said.
“And the baker?”
“He bought the flour from the miller.”
“And the miller, where did he get the flour from?” the preacher asked.
“From the soil,” the children responded.
“And where did the soil get it from?”
“From God,” they recognized finally.
In one way or another, we have to arrive at the same answer, but oh how long it takes us to get there. How reluctant we are to recognize this truth. Of course, every day we give thanks to God for our food, but let us be honest: Do we really think that unless God puts food on the table for us every day, we will have nothing to eat? When was the last time that you, with a true sense of need, asked God in prayer: “Lord, have mercy on me and my family, and do not let us go hungry today. Please provide for us the food that we need today, because if it were not for Your daily provision, O God, what would become of us?” When was the last time you prayed with this same sense of urgency for your and your family’s sustenance?
“What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 4:7. And the response that awaits us is “Nothing.” We have nothing that we have not already received from the hand of God (see Deut. 8:11–18; 1 Chron. 29:11, 14; Rom. 11:36). James reminds us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17), the same Father about whom our Lord speaks in the Lord’s Prayer. Your business, your employment, your profession are nothing more than instruments in the Father’s hands to provide for your needs day after day. And it is His revealed will that you recognize each day when in prayer you cry out to Him, saying, “Our Father in heaven . . . give us this day our daily bread.”