This week I received a text message from a dear friend that jolted me. It began with the words “Well...you never know what a day holds” and then began to give the details of a sudden hospitalization and emergency surgery for a life-threatening tumor. I contacted him immediately and have been praying for him and checking on him ever since. His words, whether we like it or not are true for each of us. “You never know what a day holds”… which is why Jesus instructs us to focus on today.
Jesus gives us a model for prayer that we know as The Lord’s Prayer. In this prayer, we are instructed to seek God’s will and reign in our lives and to ask for what we need today. Not next week or next month or next year. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Only today. Why this day and not this week, month or even this year?
God knows that too often when we focus on the future, we fail to pay attention to the present. We become worried about future possibilities and consequently fail to live fully in the present. In fact, just a few verses after the Lord’s prayer, Jesus launches into a warning against storing up riches for yourself (Matthew 6:19-24). While scripture is certainly not opposed to planning or saving for the future, the order of Jesus’ words serves as a reminder that if we are not living by faith in the present—what we store up for the future will not matter. God wants us to live by faith today. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us (this day) our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Focusing on walking by faith today, protects me from obsessing about an uncertain tomorrow. It also protects me from overlooking the blessing of today. Listen to Jesus instructions from Matthew 6:25- 34:
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)
Did you catch the last verse? Each day has enough trouble of its own. Indeed. You never know what a day holds. One day your plans can be upended, and you are staring at a life-threatening condition that you were completely unaware of just twenty-four hours earlier. This inconvenient and disturbing reality should cause us to live humbly today with a sense of gratitude, dependence and faith.