When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, only one of the things He told them to ask for was a physical need—“Give us this day our daily bread.”1 All the rest of the prayer is praise to God or requests for spiritual gifts or blessings so that we can better please and serve Him. His including a request for material supply recognizes that we live in the natural world and that God wants to supply our physical needs. But it goes deeper than that.
I have a confession: I really like to win! Whether it’s at sports, a board game, or—unfortunately—a disagreement, my competitiveness comes to the fore and I have to try to come out on top. No game is too simple for me when it comes to trying to develop an edge. I’ve even devised (mostly pointless!) strategies for Snakes and Ladders or Go Fish.
Advertisements generally portray more than the item on sale. An ad for a plastic inflatable pool might show a happy family having a great time splashing in the water. But if you get the pool, will you get a happy family too?
I first met Ivan in 1995 while collecting aid in Italy for delivery to refugee camps in Croatia and Bosnia. I remember his smile and warm handshake.
It was a few years before we saw him again. He called to offer us some boxes of clothing he had collected, and we went to his home, where we met his wife, Francesca, and their two children. From then on, we stayed in touch, and over time, we’ve learned a lot from each other.
In their 1960’s hit “Can’t Buy Me Love,” the Beatles capitalized on a simple, well-worn truth. They could just as well have sung, “Can’t buy me truth” or “happiness” or “peace of mind.” Those things weren’t for sale either, and they’re still not. While this is a simple truth, it’s not an easy one to live.
Someone has said that today is a marvel of opportunity, crucified between two thieves, yesterday and tomorrow! Today, this very day, is one of the most wonderfully precious things you will ever have.
When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to play the Smile Game. Whenever we were out and about, running errands with our mom, going to the supermarket, or waiting at the stoplight, we’d have a little competition to see who could find the most smiles amongst the people passing by.