When speaking of Christianity, we are accustomed to hearing phrases like “living our lives for God” or “giving our lives to Christ”. Such language evokes a very big-picture view. This perspective is necessary to our Christian walk because it serves as the North Star by which we set and monitor our course. However, we must be careful not to overlook the daily business of discipleship. It can lead to a situation in which our attention is so set on our map that we fail to notice the holes and cracks in the hull of our boat which eventually cause us to sink before reaching our destination.
In His famous “Sermon on the Mount”, Christ teaches us not to obsess over the future because, “sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34) We have enough to concern ourselves with each day without adding tomorrow’s trouble on top of it. In addition to tending to our material concerns (work, finances, etc.), we must also work at our spiritual concerns (keeping God as our central focus). Consider also that those entities which oppose our spiritual progress (the devil and his angels) have no need to rest or eat, meaning that they are constantly and tirelessly trying to hinder us. The point of listing all this is to highlight the wisdom and compassion in Christ’s counsel. It is difficult to make it through a single day without straying from our path. With such a hefty task before us, Christ tells us to focus on what is currently before us: the present day and the present moment.
It is important to note that this is not telling us we shouldn’t plan ahead. Rather, it is telling us not to worry ahead and lose sight of the needs of the present. Imagine, for example, that you are faced with a charging rhinoceros. Is it best to worry about whether your hospital bed will be clean or to concern yourself with the matter of getting out of said rhino’s way? Clearly the most useful, healthy, and appropriate thing to worry about is removing yourself from the rhino’s path. We must set priorities for what we worry about. If we adopt an open-door policy for worries, we will most certainly be overrun by them.
The thing about concerns is that they are very good at clumping up and blocking our view of anything else. When this happens we may even turn our gaze from God, turning away from our source of nourishment and our greatest good. Perhaps the best reason for setting priorities about what we worry about is the impact that it can have on our relationship with God. This relationship is the greatest resource we have for navigating life. God desires our good, which is why He is constantly seeking us: the greatest good He can give us is Himself. We must be careful not to let our worries crowd out our connection with the One who is able to help us through them all and put them in perspective.