Do not worry about tomorrow (Mt 6:34-6:34)

“Therefore,

Do not worry

About tomorrow!

Tomorrow

Will bring worries

Of its own.

Today’s trouble

Is enough

For today.”

 

μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον, ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς· ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς.

 

Matthew concluded this chapter, without any parallel in Luke.  Thus, this great philosophical saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew.  Just worry about today, not tomorrow.  This certainly fits in with all the indications about not worrying, because the heavenly Father would take care of things.  However, there is no mention of God or Father here.  Do not be anxious about tomorrow (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον)!  Tomorrow will be anxious by itself (ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς).  There are enough problems today (ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς.).  Pure and simple, be happy!  Don’t worry!  Tomorrow is another day.

Seek the kingdom first (Mt 6:31-6:33)

“Therefore,

Do not be anxious!

Saying.

‘What will we eat?

What will we drink?

What will we wear?’

The gentiles

Strive for all these things.

Your heavenly Father

Knows

That you need

All these things.

But strive first

For the kingdom!

Strive

For his righteousness!

Then all these things

Will be given

To you as well.”

 

μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες· Τί φάγωμεν; ἤ· Τί πίωμεν; ἤ· Τί περιβαλώμεθα;

πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων.

ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:29-31, has a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source.  The same theme continues.  They should not be worried or anxious (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες).  Why are they anxious about what to eat (Τί φάγωμεν), to drink (ἤ Τί πίωμεν), or to wear (ἤ·Τί περιβαλώμεθα)?  Those are the kind of questions that gentiles ask about (πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν).  Matthew continued his attack on the gentile, non-Jewish people.  Their heavenly Father knew about everything that they needed (οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων).  Thus, they should seek or strive first (ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον) for the kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν) and his righteousness (καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ).  Then all these other things would be taken care of for them (καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν).  A couple of manuscripts say kingdom of God (βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ), instead of just the kingdom, but that is not in the main manuscripts.  Matthew always used the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God.

Do not worry (Mt 6:25-6:25)

“Therefore,

I tell you!

‘Do not worry

About your life!

Do not worry

About what you shall eat!

Do not worry

About what you shall drink!

Do not worry

About your body!

What you shall put on?

Is not life

More than food?

Is the body

More than clothing?’”

 

Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, μὴ μεριμνᾶτε τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν τί φάγητε, ἢ τί πίητε μηδὲ τῷ σώματι ὑμῶν τί ἐνδύσησθε· οὐχὶ ἡ ψυχὴ πλεῖόν ἐστιν τῆς τροφῆς καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ἐνδύματος;

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:22-23, has a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source.  Matthew has Jesus begin with his solemn saying (λέγω ὑμῖν) that if they were to serve God only (Διὰ τοῦτο) as just explained, then they did not have to be worried or anxious (μὴ μεριμνᾶτε).  They should not worry about their life (τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν), their food (τί φάγητε) or their drink (ἢ τί πίητε).  They should not worry about their body (μηδὲ τῷ σώματι ὑμῶν) and what to wear (τί ἐνδύσησθε).  Their life was more than food (οὐχὶ ἡ ψυχὴ πλεῖόν ἐστιν τῆς τροφῆς).  Their body was more than clothes (καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ἐνδύματος).  If they were serving God, and not wealth, they would not have to worry about life, food, drink, or clothes.  Life and the body were more important than these incidentals of life.

The false pursuits (Bar 3:15-3:19)

“Who has found

Her place?

Who has entered

Her storehouses?

Where are the rulers

Of the nations?

Where are those

Who lorded it over

The animals on earth?

Where are those

Who have made sport

Of the birds of the air?

Where are those

Who hoarded up

Silver with gold

In which people trust ?

Where are those

With no end

To their getting?

Where are those

Who schemed

To get silver?

Where are those

Who are anxious?

There is no trace

Of their works.

They have vanished.

They have gone down

To Hades.

Others have arisen

In their place.”

Baruch talks about the vanity and uselessness of various life pursuits as in wisdom literature. What happens to people who store up treasures in a storehouse? Where are all the rulers of the various nations? Where are all the people who felt superior to animals. Where are the sportsmen who tried to shoot the birds in the air with their arrows? What happened to all those who hoarded up and put their trust in silver and gold? Where are all the people who never had enough? Where are those who schemed to get silver? Where are all the people who were so anxious? Baruch’s response is simple and clear. There is no trace of any of these people and their works. They have vanished and gone to hell, Hades, the Greek word for Sheol, the shadowy underworld that we often call hell. However, there are always others to take their place to do the same thing over and over again.

The blessing for those who trust in Yahweh (Jer 17:7-17:8)

“Blessed are those

Who trust in Yahweh!

Blessed are those

Whose trust is Yahweh!

They shall be

Like a tree

Planted by water.

It sends out its roots

By the stream.

It does not fear

When heat comes.

Its leaves shall stay green.

In the year of the drought,

It is not anxious.

It does not cease to bear fruit.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, wants to bless those who trust in him. They will be blessed if their trust rests with and in Yahweh. They will be like a tree planted by water with good roots. They, like the tree, will not fear when heat comes, because this well watered tree will stay green. Even if there is a drought, this tree will not be anxious, since it will not cease to bear fruit. Everything depends on trust.

Forgiveness for all (Isa 33:23-33:24)

“Your riggings hangs loose.

It cannot hold the mast firm in its place.

It cannot keep the sail spread out.

Then prey in abundance will be divided.

Spoil in abundance will be divided.

Even the lame will fall to plundering.

No inhabitant will say.

‘I am sick.’

The people who live there

Will be forgiven their iniquity.”

Isaiah remarks that despite the fact that the ship is not in good shape since the riggings are loose, the mast is not firm, and the sail is not spread out, you will not have to worry. There will be enough prey to be divided up. There will be so much spoil that even the lame will be able to plunder the area. No one will be sick in this utopian time. In fact, all their iniquity will be forgiven so that they do not have to be anxious or troubled.

Death (Sir 41:1-41:4)

“O death!

How bitter is the thought of you!

Death is bitter to those

Who live at peace

Among their possessions!

Death is bitter to those

Who have nothing to worry about!

Death is bitter to those

Who are prosperous in everything!

Death is bitter to those

Who still are vigorous enough

To enjoy food!

O death!

How welcome is your sentence?

Death is welcome to those

Who are failing in strength!

Death is welcome to those

Who are worn down by age!

Death is welcome to those

Who are anxious about everything!

Death is welcome to those

Who are contrary!

Death is welcome to those

Who have lost all patience!

Do not fear death’s decree for you!

Remember those who went before you!

Remember those who will come after you!

This is the Lord’s decree for all flesh.

Why then should you reject

The will of the Most High?

Whether life lasts

For ten years,

Or a hundred years,

Or a thousand years,

There are no questions asked

In Hades.”

Sirach has a poem about death. The thought of death is bitter to those who are doing well with a lot of possessions. They are prosperous, without worry, and vigorous enough to enjoy foods. On the other hand, the thought of death is welcomed by those who are not doing as well, the needy, the old, the contrary, those with failing strength, those anxious about everything, and those who have lost all patience. Remember that everybody before you and after you will die also. It does not matter how long your life is, in Hades they do not care if you lived 10 years, or a 100 years or a 1,000 years. It is death, plain and simple.

The misery of the human condition (Sir 40:1-40:5)

“Hard work

Was created for everyone.

A heavy yoke is laid

On the children of Adam.

This begins

From the day they come forth

From their mother’s womb,

Until the day

They return

To the mother of all the living.

They have perplexities.

They have fear of heart.

They have their anxious thoughts

About the day of their death.

Whether one sits on a splendid throne,

Whether one grovels in dust,

Whether one grovels in ashes,

Whether one who wears purple,

Whether one wears a crown,

Whether one is clothed in burlap,

There is anger.

There is envy.

There is trouble.

There is unrest.

There is fear of death.

There is fury.

There is strife.”

Sirach indicates that hard work is for everyone. The children of Adam must wear a heavy yoke on their necks from the day they are born until the day they die. Humans are perplexed, fearful, and anxious about the day of their death. It does not matter whether they sit on a throne with a crown and purple clothing or grovel in dust and ashes wearing burlap, they all have the same troubles of anger, envy, unrest, fury, strife, and of course the fear of death.

Yahweh is the source of all (Ps 127:1-127:2)

A song of ascents, of Solomon

“Unless Yahweh builds the house,

Those who build it

Labor in vain.

Unless Yahweh guards the city,

The guard keeps watch in vain.

It is in vain

That you rise up early.

It is in vain

That you go late to rest.

It is in vain

To eat the bread of anxious toil.

He gives sleep to his beloved.”

Psalm 127 is another of these short pilgrimage songs or psalms sung on the way ascending to Jerusalem. However, this one has the name of Solomon since there is a little wisdom saying embedded here about God’s providence. Unless Yahweh builds the house, your work is in vain. Unless Yahweh guards your city, it is in vain to have guards watch it. You should not be anxious for your daily bread. It is in vain to rise up early to work or stay up late at night to work. Yahweh gives sleep to his beloved ones. Do not be anxious for Yahweh is the source of all things.

The people prepare (2 Macc 15:17-15:19)

“The people were encouraged by the words of Judas Maccabeus. They were so noble and so effective in arousing the valor and awaking the courage in the souls of the young. Thus, they determined not to remain in camp, but to attack bravely. They would decide the matter, by fighting hand to hand with all courage, because the city, the sanctuary, and the temple were in danger. Their concern for their wives and children, and also for their brothers, sisters, and relatives, lay upon them less heavily. Their greatest and first fear was for the consecrated sanctuary. Those who had to remain in the city were in no little distress, being anxious over the encounter in the open country.”

Judas Maccabeus had encouraged the people to have courage, especially the young. Instead of staying in camp, they were willing to attack bravely. They wanted to fight hand to hand with courage. They were more worried about the city, the Temple, and sanctuary rather than their wives, children, brothers, sisters, or other relatives. Their greatest fear was for the consecrated sanctuary. The people who remained in the city were anxious about the battle encounter in the open country.