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Take your trouble to Jesus

GO FORTH AND CHANGE THE WORLD

What? Me worry?

By Vernon S. Broyles III | Presbyterians Today

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. — Matthew 6:34

Nervous-looking woman My minister father frequently uttered pithy sayings and pieces of Scripture, one of which was the text from Matthew 6:34 about today’s trouble being enough for today. Of course, given his generation, such sayings were usually offered in the King James Version of the Bible, so his quotation of Matthew 6:34 was: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

If I had been more of a biblical scholar in those days, I might have known that this was at the end of a section in the Gospel of Matthew that begins in the New Revised Standard Version: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:25, 32–34).

Not worrying about tomorrow is easy to say, yet difficult to do — especially when trying to live out our faith with courage and hope while the world around us is in such turmoil. The fact is, we are surrounded by daunting issues that stretch from personal crises involving ourselves and our families to a struggling national economy and a world torn by conflict. And most nights, the news is just plain scary given the lust for power by major and minor demagogues here at home and abroad and the consistent drumbeat of fearful economists. Our more-than-enough-for-today trouble can’t help but spill into our worrisome tomorrows.

Some years ago, I preached a sermon on this passage and tried to convey that whatever happens, we are in God’s hands. Afterward a couple came up to me, and as the woman shook my hand, she said, “We keep a small poster on our refrigerator that says: ‘Don’t tell me worrying doesn’t do any good. The things I worry about never happen!’” If only that were true.

So, what do we do? Do we latch on to the smiling face of Alfred E. Neuman and await whatever happens with a “What, me worry?” smile. Or rather, we can latch on to the human face of the God of the universe, the one who stands with us as the Risen Lord, knowing that — whatever the troubles — in him we have all we need to overcome.

Vernon S. Broyles III is a volunteer for public witness in the PC(USA)’s Office of the General Assembly.

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