“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not come upon you unexpectedly.” – Luke 21:34
This is no small challenge. We may or may not be given to “dissipation and drunkenness,” but we are all routinely boozed up by “the worries of this life.” Just by mentioning it, you and I have already made a mental list of at least five worries. And that worries me (six!).
Some worries are truly overwhelming such as: “Will my child live?” others are more trivial: “Gads! We’re almost out of ice cream!” while others are less grounded: “I think I’m living in the Truman Show.”
In Matthew, Jesus counsels against worry because it’s about as fruitful as seeking unbiased reporting on cable news. Jesus said, “Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying?” In the above passage from Luke, Jesus appears to conquer all worries by giving us something much bigger to worry about, namely, “that day.”
But hear this: Jesus’ prediction of “that day” isn’t like a parent barking, “Don’t make me come down there!” to a bunch of rowdy kids in the basement, or “I’ll give you something to cry about!” to a child with crocodile tears. It’s about Jesus swooping in at the culmination of history to restore and heal the brokenness of the world. As I watch the news, as I watch my mind carried off by innumerable worries, I’m all in for that.
In the end, the only thing worth worrying about is that our worries might cause us to miss Jesus when he shows up, whether it is “that day,” or today.
Or even, right now.
Come Lord Jesus! Take the wheel of my life and of this worrisome world.
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.