By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Work as if you were to live 100 years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow.” Many of us are very dedicated and enjoy our line of work despite its intermittent frustrations. On the North Shore where I live, many have put in numerous years of preparation for our life work, either at University or some other institute. As a result, we see ourselves as responsible hard-working citizens who pay our own way and earn our own bread.
The danger with being hard-working and fairly successful is that we start thinking that we’ve achieved it all by ourselves. We think of ourselves as self-made men and women. Self-made people, however, suffer from the problem of worshipping their “maker”. “Self ” becomes their focus and centre, Whenever self is on ‘the throne’. other relationships (spouse, children, parents, work) tend to suffer. Self-centredness is the greatest disease for successful, hard-working people. The cure for the disease is to begin to see one’s life and “successes” more as a gift than just an achievement. Most of us were probably taught as children either at home or public school to say “Give us today our daily bread.” The value of such a prayer is that it reminds us that receiving a gift is just as important as earning a reward. If we are very intelligent, it is ultimately a gift that we never earned. If we are very artistic, it is very much a gift.
It we are good with finances, once again that is a wonderful gift. Now we are responsible for how we develop and make use of the gifts God has given us. But let us never forget that all of our abilities are ultimately a pure gift.
A few years ago, the Associated Press released a study done by an agricultural school in Iowa. It reported that production of 100 bushels of corn from one acre of land in addition to the many hours of the farmer’s labour, required 4,000,000 pounds of water, 6,800 pounds of oxygen, 5,200 pounds of carbon, 160 pounds of nitrogen, 125 pounds of potassium, 75 pounds of yellow sulphur, and other elements too numerous to list, and, in addition to these things, which no human being can produce, rain and sunshine at the right time are critical. Human beings have no control over these things. It was estimated, the report said, that only 5% of the produce of a farm can be attributed to human efforts.
If you feel led to pray the Lord’s Prayer this week, I encourage you to pray “Give us today our daily bread” with a new sense of thanksgiving and gratitude.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
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