There is a passage in one of Jesus’ discourses with which most of us are very familiar. It is found in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 6:
“…Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on…..Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? And why are you anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say to you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore be not anxious, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?..…for your Heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.””
The reason our Lord gives against anxiety for the future is that we have nothing to do with the future. God gives us life by days – little single days. Each day has its own duties, its own needs, its own trials and temptations, its own sorrows. And its own joys and victories. God always gives us strength enough for the day as He gives it, with all that He puts into it.
If we insist on dragging back tomorrow’s cares and piling them on top of today’s, our strength will not be enough for the load. God will not add strength just to humor our whims of anxiety and distrust.
So the lesson is that we should keep each day distinct and attend strictly to what that day brings us. Charles Kingsley says, “Do today’s duty, fight today’s temptation, and do not weaken and distract yourself by looking forward to things which you cannot see, and could not understand if you saw them.” We really have nothing at all to do with the future, except to prepare for it by doing with fidelity the duties of today.
No one was ever crushed by the burdens of one day. We can always get along with our heaviest load till the sun goes down – and that is all we ever have to do. Tomorrow? Oh, you really have no guarantee of tomorrow. If you are here God will be here too, and you will receive new strength sufficient for the new day. (Adapted from “Come Ye Apart” Daily Readings, 1907)
One day at a time. A burden too great
To be borne for two can be borne for one;
Who knows what will enter tomorrow’s gate?
While yet we are speaking all may be done.
One day at a time, – but a single day,
Whatever its load, whatever its length;
And there’s a bit of precious Scripture to say
That according to each shall be our strength.
- Author unknown