A day filled with evil

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Who of us have not borrowed from tomorrow’s cache of worry? It is so easy and in an odd way seems to be reasonable. If I don’t look into the cares of tomorrow how can I prepare myself for what might come? Who wants to be blindsided by a problem or waylaid by some concern? Isn’t it better to brace myself even if it results in little bit of premature anxiety?

In the midst of this rationale that is as old as a million ancient tomorrows, Jesus sits on a hillside and teaches a crowd who probably had something to worry about. How can I be fairly sure of that? Here are two reasons. First, many of the people of Jesus’ day were day-laborers. This meant that they got up in the morning and hoped that there was a job to be done by which earn a day’s wage that would provide food for the next day and help pay the rent. If they didn’t work they didn’t get paid; and if you didn’t get paid it makes it really hard to put food on the table and keep a roof over head. What does that have to do with the day Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount? The answer’s in the question…the day Jesus preached. It was daytime and these people were listening, not working. I wonder if they wondered what to do about the next day’s meal. The second reason is less complex, Jesus mentioned worry.

Jesus’ teaching on the subject came at the end of a long paragraph in which He addressed cares and concerns. He hit the common ones. He reminded the people that worrying about food and cloths was a waste of energy. Jesus simply said, “your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:32) He continued, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (6:33) So there’s nothing to worry about right? That’s not what Jesus said for He concluded with, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (6:34)

It is on His closing words on the topic of worry that we need to focus. What does Jesus mean when He says not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough problems? Or as one translation puts it: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. That sure seems ominous. What does Jesus mean by “evil”?

Each day is filled with evil. Is this evil like ISIS or abortion or moral depravity? I guess it could be but chances are good that most people are not experiencing such, though no doubt some are. But if most are not than what might Jesus be teaching us about daily life and worry?

Could it be that Jesus is talking about how the evil invited into the world when Adam and Eve sinned and still endures devastating the world? Could it be that Jesus is teaching that because a person sins their days are full of trouble? I think it is the first more than the last. Our world has been broken by sin and all who live here are affected by that brokenness. In the original language the word describes wickedness, depravity, the evil of trouble, affliction. These alternate meanings for the word describe the effects of sin.

Maybe an illustration will help clarify what I am trying to express. My dad is struggling with a form of leukemia. Because of his age he is not a candidate for the chemo therapy that would probably cure him. Has he been afflicted with this disease because of some wickedness in his life, some habit that awoke a gene or brought on him the wrath of God? There would be those who might suspect such. But for those who know him they would greatly doubt it. My dad has been a devoted follower of Christ from almost fifty years. His love for the Lord has taken him on mission around the world, preaching the gospel and teaching young pastors. For the past fifteen years, during that time of life when many retire, he has continued to teach ministers and preach the Word of God strongly and effectively. But here he is, eighty-one and the battle is on. We have found that each day is full of troubles. Blood tests often followed by transfusions and weariness are pretty much the order of the day. Is dad a sinner? Of course, everyone is according to the Lord. Is it his sin that has caused his cancer? No, it is the result of an entire race scarred by sin.

Now to the point of this study. Though I have known for a long time Jesus’ words about worry and not borrowing from tomorrow’s stockpile, I now understand more clearly how He is trying to help us. Every day will have challenges, dangers, worries, fears and sometimes a lot of them. The wickedness around us brings most of these. We are afraid to go out at night for fear of what cannot be seen. We are afraid to go to a doctor for fear of what will be. We mourn the loss caused by the sin of another that we had no control over…every day. So why add to the pile? Lean on Christ and make it through today. There’s more than enough that He needs and wants to help you carry and when tomorrow becomes today He will help you again.

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24) By the way, these words were written by a prophet as he walked the streets of his destroyed city; it was a day filled with evil.

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