Old Woman Praying by Nicolaes Maes
We are witnesses in this painting of a private moment between a woman and God. The table is spread before her with dinner. It's simple but abundant. There are three kinds of bread, a large salmon steak, bowl of soup and a side dish of potatoes or perhaps another kind of vegetable.
This woman has fully stopped before God to give Him thanks. She has a dry home with a table and a chair to sit upon. She has a table spread with more than she needs and even a dear companion who is clawing at the table cloth in the lower right corner. She takes none of this for granted. So with eyes closed, head bowed, hands folded and fingers pointing to God -- she prays.
This picture convicts me and maybe it does you too. There are so many of us who take for granted our possessions and the fact that we can get enough to eat whenever we need it. Almost without thinking we live out our abundant life styles while God sits on the side line -- forgotten.
Don't get it wrong -- God loves when his children have plenty to eat and all that they need. He wants to share in our joy as the generous Father that he is. But one of God's great concerns for us is this: "When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God..." (Deuteronomy 8:10-11a)
While Moses spoke these words to the Israelites long ago, he speaks them to you and me today. Enjoy what God gives, but include him and be grateful. Everything we have is his good gift to us.