When I was in high school and college and would get worked up about things, my grandma would tell me the same thing each time “Don’t borrow trouble.” A simple truism if there ever was one. To borrow trouble was to take the issues in the future that I wasn’t sure about and apply them today as if they were real at that moment. To borrow trouble was to take a possible issue in the future and let it control me in the now. Simply put, don’t borrow what trouble you don’t have to.
My grandma was a wise woman (and a wise cracker too, but that’s for another post).
Jesus says something similar in the Gospel of Luke.
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear…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 12:22, 25-26
I think we have a tendency to worry about a lot of things. We worry about having enough cash on hand in case of some sort of apocalypse (okay, so that’s an extreme thing that not many people actually worry or fret over…well, there are some). We worry about having enough stuff to feel comfortable. We worry about family, about having a good enough education for our kids, about how people will see us, view us, treat us; about how people will expect stuff from us. We worry. It’s part of our nature.
Now, some people point out that they’re not really worrying about money and stuff, but are in fact being good stewards of what they’ve been given. Being a good steward is great. Hoarding stuff to feel comfortable instead of trusting that God will provide isn’t so much. Being a good steward of what you’ve been given is what we’re supposed to do. Using money as your comfort for the future isn’t.
To be honest, worrying is all about what you meditate on and in what you place your trust in. When we worry, when we borrow trouble, we meditate on infinite possible futures that haven’t occurred yet (or may never occur) and then treat them as the present reality making decisions based on that. And then by worrying, placing trust in something else that isn’t God, that isn’t Jesus.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
What you focus on, meditate on, place your trust on the most is what you worship and where you’re heart is at. By worrying, by borrowing trouble, we seek out possible future realities and how to prevent them with stuff we can obtain. If we have enough money, enough stuff, enough time, enough people we can influence, then all will be okay for these possible futures that haven’t happened yet. And there your heart is. Not on Jesus, but on possible future worst case scenarios that have’t happened yet nor may at all.
Now, it’s not bad to prepare for things like fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and other disasters. It’s not a bad thing to have a savings account and be a good steward of what you’ve been entrusted in. But we also have to remember what our first focus in life is supposed to be.
“Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 7:33
The primary focus isn’t on money and stuff and what will happen in the future but on God’s kingdom and his righteousness. Now, this isn’t saying that if you seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first, then you’ll be set for life. What Jesus is saying is that when you seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, your treasure changes and you see what’s more important in life. It isn’t stuff or what may or main’t happen tomorrow, but what is possible and real today–God’s kingdom and his righteousness.
Don’t borrow trouble. Why? Because today’s messed up as it is.
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 7:34
In borrowing trouble, we make decisions based on a non-existent possible reality that may or may not come to fruition. When you focus on what you can do for Jesus today, how God is providing for you today, you can see how tomorrow will be just fine by itself. God’s in control of yesterday, today, and also tomorrow.
Don’t borrow trouble. Trust in God today, let tomorrow take care of itself. And enjoy what you’ve been given today and God’s provision today. Because tomorrow will be different and today will be gone. It will be yesterday, and tomorrow will be today, and we’ll have another tomorrow to worry about. Live the now, don’t borrow trouble, and enjoy.