“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? ”  Luke 12:25,26

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

Planning and predicting, those activities take up such a large part of our daily efforts and thoughts.  Everything from, what will the weather be tomorrow, will the stock I own go up, will I find that someone, will I get hired for the new job, will I get that promotion or pay raise, what will the doctor’s report say and I started this sentence with the word “everything” but I don’t have room to list all the future concerns we have.  Being ever more concerned about it, we have spent considerable resources on technology and tools to make our predicting better.  Now I live on the east coast of the United States and don’t get me wrong, I like how accurate forecasts about things like hurricanes and other large storms that can do grave harm to life and property have become.  This is not an anti-technology post.

Yet Jesus teaches us something different; seems to have a different spin on things when it comes to the “when” we are to be focusing on.  When Jesus teaches His disciples to pray; notice that part of the prayer dealing with worldly provisions like food, focuses on a daily provision.  Jesus doesn’t teach us to pray for a week’s, month’s, year’s or life long provision.  No, daily bread is what we should be praying for.

Second, one aspect of Jesus being fully human is that He gains a perfect insight into the human condition based on that experience.  Jesus knew about temptation though He never sinned.  Jesus knew about the process of worry, though I can find no example where Jesus ever succumbed to that particular human practice. Jesus was very clear in His teaching about the harm of and debilitating nature of worry.  Being perfectly astute, Jesus did teach concerning worrying about the past; no His teaching was how worthless it was to worry about the future.

Why would He be so concerned about our worrying in general and specifically about the future and how does that fit into our greater predictive ability? The answer has been impressed upon me recently with the passing away of two colleagues and friends who the world would describe as being in the prime of their lives and both happened to be younger than I am, one be several years.  For one in particular, we traveled extensively together and often had many discussions.  Some of the most keen highlights my friend focused on were things that were going to happen in the future.  In some cases the events were weeks away, in others cases they were months to a couple of years away.  In all the examples my friend laid out for me recently, he did not get to partake in a single one.  Interestingly enough, many of our discussions about the immediate day at hand dealt with challenges, obstacles and disappointments.

You see Dear Sisters and Brothers; Jesus Christ knew and knows that only our Heavenly Father owns and is guaranteed tomorrow.  We do not know Our Heavenly Father’s Perfect Plan for our future so to focus so much time, energy and resources into such extremely particular and exhaustive plans is in some ways, not logical and can go as far as boarding on, misplaced faithful arrogance.  It’s as if all of our planning, predicting and worrying about the execution and outcome of that planning and predicting will actually have the power to influence and perhaps change God’s plan.  That arrogance is what Jesus is referring to with His comment about not being able to even add an hour to our life spans with our planning and worrying.

The challenge is that our predictive powers seem to be getting more accurate so we rely on them more.  We now believe we can accurately predict how profitable a business will be and spend vast sums of money accordingly.  We believe our computer models will accurately predict what temperatures and water levels will be a half century from now bringing with those predictions much fear, trepidation and resource utilization (I do believe we need to be wise stewards of the planet God has entrusted to us).

So back to the original question; we lose today when we focus so much time and energy trying to predict the future and plan accordingly.  Plus the human condition is such that, even when that future day comes, there’s always another future day after that to be planned for.  It’s not always the case, but often the human condition has us ascribing some vital characteristic of humanity, our ability to live without war, to wipe out greed and poverty, to live in harmony as something we will achieve in the future.  Ironically enough, although we are going to be so great in the future, we spend very little of today actually working toward it.

While Jesus Christ advises that each day holds trouble enough of its own so we don’t want to compound it worrying about adding future troubles to today’s focus; He also lived and brought about manifold blessings each day as well.  Jesus Christ teaches us that God will take care of us daily, each day in this life and for all eternity.  It is not that we can’t or shouldn’t consider or pray about the future, the job interview tomorrow, the medical test next week; etc.  I see nowhere in God’s Word that would be considered a sin.  It is in the understanding that God has the Perfect Knowledge of that time and so we should have the faith to allow His plan to work.  It is to our very considerable peril when our faith in our predicted outcome is treated as a known, unchangeable fact.

We can have complete faith in God’s love for us tomorrow but today is the only day we can actually experience it.  Today is the only day we can actually spread His love.  The exhortation does not say “all days” but declares:  “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  Let us not lose this day the Lord has made, focusing and/or worrying about some future day which may or may not come.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we fully acknowledge that we are beings who see time in a largely linear fashion.  Too often that causes us to focus on and worry about a possible future that, due to our worldly predictions, we are quite certain will happen.  Help us Most Merciful Father to live into the words of Jesus Christ; that today is the day we should be focused on.  Help us to be grateful for the love You show us each day and focus on spreading that love versus putting future planning as a higher priority.  Forgive us when we arrogantly believe we are masters of our own future, disregarding any impact Your Perfect Plan has.  That in living focused on today; the blessings You are providing, the love from You that we can share with others, we would live lives of praise to Your Most Holy Name.  In Jesus Christ’s name we pray.  Amen