Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day” (Exodus 16:4).

I believe in the importance of financial planning. I know from firsthand experience the stress that comes from a lack of financial resources. I know the peace of mind that comes with having some money stashed away in the event that the car breaks down or the furnace quits working. And I know the joy of being able to share what I have with those who don’t have enough.

In my 26-year career with a financial services organization I heard heartbreaking stories of young mothers or fathers whose spouse had died, and who were now left to raise their children without adequate resources because they had never gotten around to purchasing life insurance. I also heard stories of those who, in the midst of grieving their loved one’s death, were grateful that at least they didn’t have to worry about financial matters because they had planned for the unexpected or the inevitable.

Planning for the future is important. And God calls to be good stewards of all we’ve been given, including our financial resources. But none of us knows exactly how long we’re going to be on this earth. If I live to a ripe, old age, I want to have enough money to last. On the other hand, maybe I should be saving less and contributing more to those in need. Is it right that I should have funds tied up in a 401(k) when they could be helping to feed the hungry or shelter the homeless?

God told Moses that each morning the people were to gather enough manna for that day. One day’s worth, no more. The only exception was the day before the sabbath when they were to gather twice as much so they could rest on the sabbath. The people learned that they could trust in God’s providence. Even those who may have grumbled that they would like a change in the menu still knew that God would come through for them. For forty long years, there was enough manna for everyone. No one had too much, but no one went hungry, either.

The late Old Testament scholar, Terence Fretheim, offers this insight: “The issue becomes one of learning to rely on God for one’s daily needs….The increasing gap between rich and poor in modern societies is certainly in part due to the hoarding of manna. It witnesses to a failure to recognize that all that we have is due to God’s goodness, not our ability to gather manna better than anyone else.”

Give us this day our daily bread, O Lord. Help us to trust that it is enough, and give us generous hearts to share our abundance with those in need. Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.