Vol. 9, No. 2
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"Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34). To me one of the most interesting phrases used by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount is found at the end of this verse: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." What does it mean?
To begin to understand it we have to consider the context. 1. Jesus is teaching the fact that God will take care of us, and he uses several examples of that: the flower, the birds, the hair on our heads, etc.
2. Jesus is instructing us not to worry. Anxiety over what we will eat or where we will live or what we will wear is what he is dealing with. The old saying is appropriate: "Don't Worry. Don't worry about what you can change, change it. Don't worry about what you cannot change, for you have no control over it." Worry causes ulcers, sleepless nights, untold and often unnecessary distress, and can lead to depleted faith as well. 3. Jesus tells us to seek God and his kingdom above all else, and then we truly do not have to worry.
So, what does the phrase "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" mean? I believe that it means: 1. We have enough to deal with today. We have the toils and troubles, as well as joys and blessings, that the day may bring upon us. We have the responsibilities of Christian service, and the ever present battle with temptation. 2. We can only handle today's problems. We cannot backtrack and solve yesterday's problems, and we certainly cannot deal with the things the future may bring. We do not know what will be, and if we try to guess, we are more often than not wrong. 3. He is telling us to live today, and with our faith in him deal with today and all of its ramifications, both good and bad, easy or hard. 4. Tomorrow may never come. If it does come, it will become today, and then we can handle it. But tomorrow is an unknown and an uncharted voyage we will sail later. The bottom line is to simply serve God, put our trust in him, and then live our daily lives to the fullest, and leave tomorrow in the hands of him who holds all tomorrows!