Our Daily Bread

From Henry George: Thy Kingdom come

Why, consider: “Give us this day our daily bread.” 
I stopped in a hotel last week—a hydropathic establishment. A hundred or more guests sat down to table together. Before they ate any-thing, a man stood up, and, thanking God, asked Him to make us all grateful for His bounty. And it is so at every mealtime—such an acknowledgement is made over well-filled boards.

What do we mean by it?

If Adam, when he got out of Eden, had sat down and commenced to pray, he might have prayed till this time without getting anything to eat unless he went to work for it. 

Yet food is God’s bounty. He does not bring meat and vegetables all prepared. What He gives are the opportunities of producing these things—of bringing them forth by labour. His mandate is—it is written in the Holy Word, it is graven on every fact in nature—that by labour we shall bring forth these things. Nature gives to labour and to nothing else.

What God gives are the natural elements that are indispensable to labour. He gives them, not to one, not to some, not to one generation, but to all. They are His gifts, His bounty to the whole human race. 

And yet in all our civilised countries what do we see? That a few people have appropriated these bounties, claiming them as theirs alone, while the great majority have no legal right to apply their labour to the reservoirs of Nature and draw from the Creator’s bounty.