GRACE NOTES – PASTORAL LETTER 6.5.24

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,

It was a delight to spend time learning, worshipping, and picnicking with you this past Lord’s Day.  I have been praying for you since, asking trusting that the Lord will supply your every need of both body and soul.  Indeed, the thought of His faithful provision has been on my mind lately, as we recently considered the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer during our Wednesday evening prayer meeting – namely, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11).

Of course, the Word of God makes clear, as the first Catechism also states, that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  That is to say, we have a grand and spiritual purpose in all of life, praying, longing, and striving in the Lord’s might to see the kingdom of God advanced in the world.  Thus, the first three petitions of of the Lord’s Prayer direct our attention to this kingdom before teaching us to pray for other daily needs.  We ask that the Lord’s name would be hallowed – recognized and honored as holy – in the world, that His kingdom would come in great power as the gospel advances and many bend the knee to Christ in every nation, and that, accordingly, His will would be done among the inhabitants of earth as it is perfectly and willingly fulfilled by the angels in heaven.  This pursuit, this zeal to see the Lord Jesus Christ magnified among all peoples and in all places, and especially among the people and place where the Lord has set us, is to be a constant, driving force in all of life, and therefore in our prayers.  It is a high calling and a tremendous privilege to be called to participate in such a glorious pursuit, and it should be the primary motivator in all that we do.

But, that said, isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord who directs the stars in their courses, who has overcome the gates of hell, and who is gathering for Himself a people of every tribe, language, people, and nation, isn’t dismissive of or indifferent to our daily needs?  Thus, having lifted our thoughts to grand and heavenly matters and teaching us to pray concerning them, He reaches down into the “humdrum” of our daily lives and teaches us to pray for bread from one day to the next – that is, for His provision of this life’s necessities.  It is an awesome and blessed thing to ponder.  Our heavenly Father isn’t like the high-powered CEO or politician who, in dealing with great matters among men, neglects his children in favor of devoting himself to his career.  His sovereignly directing all things at all times according to the counsel of His will doesn’t make Him the least bit resistant to hearing and answering our prayers for the simple things of this life.  He cares for us.  So, when we cry out to Him for a job or better paying job, for medical care and healing when we’re sick, for a car to get back and forth to the places we need to go, for food and clothing to provide for our families, and so on, He not only doesn’t ignore us, He bends His ear to listen and moves His mighty hand to answer.  Thus, David could write, “I have been young, and am now old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread” (Ps 37:25).  What a joyful thing to have on record from the man inspired by the Sprit of God to write infallible truth for our assurance and comfort – the Lord is pleased to provide for His children.

Here is a solid rock upon which to place our feet when needs arise and anxiety begins to knock at the door, and a reason to praise our Father in heaven.  Where is the place for anxiety when an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, and faithful Father has promised to supply whatever is needful to us?  The Lord Jesus assures us that the One who clothes the flowers and feeds the birds will surely care for us as well, who are much more valuable in God’s sight than these lesser creatures.  And, He goes on to say, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:31-33).  As we pray, long for, and strive after the first three petitions (seeking first His kingdom), we have every reason to believe, without doubting, that the Lord answer the fourth petition as well, giving each day our daily bread that we may continue to glorify Him in all that we are, say, and do.  Here is true peace in a world consumed with the pursuit of gathering more and more, and eaten-away with worry that whatever is gained one day won’t last through the next.  The Lord, who is not a man that He should lie, promises to meet our needs as we seek first His kingdom and ask for them.

He who moves the sun and moon, and who raises up and throws down kings, isn’t above, or the least bit hesitant about, putting clothes on our backs and food in our mouths.  Indeed, He loves to give these and many other good gifts to His children.  Let us then take our every need to Him, and one another’s needs to Him, believing that He who has never failed one of His children won’t fail us in our time of need.  Let us enjoy and display the peace such knowledge gives, in hopes that others will ask about the reason for the hope that is in us.  And let us make the most of every opportunity to say Who it is that gives such simple stability of Spirit – the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who daily gives us our bread.

In Christ,

Pastor Eric

P.S.

Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall.  Dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursd