TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Matthew 6:25-34
Many words in the English language seem to contradict one another. For example, why is there no egg in the eggplant or ham in the hamburger? If the teacher taught, why didn’t the preacher praught? Why do people recite at a play and play at a recital? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Here’s an issue of words that is strange and confusing at times: Is it the same to be concerned about something and to worry about it? Paul is proud of the Philippians for showing concern for him (Philippians 4:10). But Christ tells us not to be anxious (or worry) (Matthew 6:25, 34). How do I know that I’m concerned but not worrying?
Have you ever worried about getting to a flight on time? Should we be concerned and take steps to make it there promptly? Yes! We should check the weather, monitor construction, and leave early. But once we are on the road, we don’t need to let worry cause us to speed, behave poorly in the rain, or get angry at traffic. Worry cannot make traffic move faster, stop rain, or change construction. So the main question in differentiating between concern and worry is: Is it productive? Concern allows us to make proper preparations for the trip. Worry does nothing to help or change the situation.
Christ certainly doesn’t want us to take His command not to worry about our provision and the future to the extreme of never planning anything. But we also can’t go to the other extreme of leaving out faith in God while we attempt to plan more than is humanly possible and then worry about outcomes beyond our control. Victor Hugo summed up a good balance between the two: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
Today, I will…ask myself when I am tempted to worry whether or not it is productive and pray for God’s help in letting go of worrisome thoughts that don’t help or change the situation.