"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 6.23
Is it possible for a government to follow this instruction? Can a corporation? What does this mean for thinking about possible threats that might arise the day after tomorrow? Or for any projects that require years of careful planning?
Perhaps we need to distinguish two meanings of "worry". On the one hand, worry can have a negative meaning similar to anxiety: a persistent fear of what might be, an endless imaginative dwelling in negative possibilities over which one has little control. I am worried that it might rain tomorrow and the party will be ruined.
But worry can also have a more neutral meaning close to concern: a careful focus upon the welfare of the object of concern. This need not involve anxiety, but is simply love looking forwards, anticipating needs before they arise.
I don't think that Jesus is ruling out this latter meaning, only the former. It is the anxious striving after security that he is addressing in this passage. Instead of trying to obtain safety, we are to seek first the kingdom of God, God's loving reign over all things. This kingdom is something that needs to be sought, it is not obvious. It is a treasure hidden in a field over which you might stumble, or a jewel of great price that you might discover after much seeking. It is hidden in plain sight in this extraordinary ordinary man from Nazareth.
Image by Andrew Filmer. Ten points for guessing the city.