Matthew 6:34 forms part of the Sermon on the Mount, a profound collection of teachings where Jesus addresses a variety of topics including prayer, forgiveness, blessings in the kingdom, and worry. The verse itself states, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The statement tomorrow will worry about itself demonstrates the futility of losing sleep over the problems of tomorrow, especially as we have challenges for today.
Many of us have a natural tendency to fixate on the future, conjuring up imaginary horrors that provoke anxiety about things beyond our control. But tomorrow is not within our grasp; the only time we truly possess is the present. Instead of dwelling on how we’ll manage tomorrow, we should adopt a “one day at a time” approach. Excessive worry about the future reveals a lack of trust in the One who holds tomorrow in His hands. Even if an unexpected tragedy occurs tomorrow, worrying won’t mitigate it; such things are in God’s hands.
As Eugene Peterson aptly conveys in his Message paraphrase of Matthew 6:34, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Note that Jesus’ teaching doesn’t discourage planning and prudent resource management; neither does He endorse a hedonistic, YOLO lifestyle devoid of consideration for the future. Wisdom dictates that we handle our resources as responsible stewards (Proverbs 21:7), and righteous living contradicts hedonism. A distinction exists between planning and worrying. While we recognize that our actions carry eternal significance, disciples of Christ are called to live for God today. If God hasn’t called us home tomorrow, we embark on another day dedicated to Him.
Furthermore, Jesus’ broader teachings on worry emphasize the matter of priority. Using God’s care for birds and flowers as an example, Jesus reassures His followers that the Father knows their needs. Therefore, our primary concern should be “God’s kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). We achieve this by first accepting God’s offer of forgiveness and His gift of righteousness (Romans 3:22–24). Subsequently, we live each day according to the King’s principles, empowered by the Holy Spirit. As we do, God promises to meet our needs, understanding our needs better than we do.
In addition to being futile, worry has many detrimental physical effects, including dizziness, breathing difficulties, panic attacks, and increase in blood pressure (www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body#how-does-it-feel, accessed 9/25/23). All of God’s commands are for our benefit, including the directive not to worry (see Deuteronomy 10:12–13; Psalm 19:7–8).
So, how do we allow tomorrow to worry about itself? We accomplish this by relying on God to meet our needs, by prioritizing His values, and by living lives characterized by thanksgiving and contentment.