Matthew 6:33-34 (ESV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
As I read this passage this morning, I am reminded by God to set aside worry about things in the future. I cannot control it. I cannot shape it. God knows my needs, and he will not leave me.
It is interesting to think about the truth of the command above. It leaves us in a bit of a quandary. We do not wish to become irresponsible. We dare not be lazy. We must not become so blasé about the future that we fail to do that which God commands. Yet, do we overdo our planning, our preparation, our scheming, and our strategy?
Let me set aside a thought quickly. I am not in this consideration, assuming that we need not plan, strategize or work. I understand quite well that we need to be people who think wisely, set goals, and put plans into motion. I will not assume this is not the case.
Yet, how often do we, even in ministry, cross the line into worry about the future. Rather than knowing that God knows our needs, how often do we assume that it is completely our job to meet those needs. We assume that we have to be the ones who come up with the strategies that will reach our people, reach the community, or reach the nations with the gospel. Yet, God is the one who must do the work. Only he can bring a dead heart to life. Only he can cause the increase. Only he can bring people to himself. Only he can change a church, a town, a state, a nation, or the world.
So, what do I do with this? I think there is a delicate balance that must be kept in check. We work. We plan. We do not ignore the future or become lazy. Yet, we also trust. We rest. We know that God is the one who will accomplish his will for his glory. We dare not think that we are the ones who will get this done. We dare not think that the world will be won through our efforts. But we also do not stop putting forth effort for God’s glory.
In fact, perhaps it is the issue of God’s glory that is most helpful here. Perhaps the motivation for our mission needs to be reevaluated. Perhaps we need to remember that it is our purpose in life to bring honor to the name of the one who made us. Perhaps our mission needs to be to bring God honor in every way that we can. Then we will not be filled with stress and worry. Then we will not assume the accomplishment of the work is on our shoulders. At the same time, we will also not stop working and striving. But the purpose of our striving will be to magnify our Lord. We will share the gospel because that honors Christ. We will plant churches to bring him praise. We will help people because that shows the world God’s character. We will learn the word of God out of a desire to see more of God’s glory. We will love one another in order to display that self-sacrificial love of Christ.