The Anxious World
Reading the Word with Luther
Scripture Text: Matthew 6:30–34
Series: Reading the Word with Luther
O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
Matthew 6:30–34, RSV
The world is always anxious about the future, and thinks thereby to be removed from danger and to protect and support itself. It sees not its own vanity, and that its projects may be wrong; that it is true and experience testifies, as Christ here says, that each day brings its own misfortune and evil. Thus it happens with such plottings and prudence of its own, with which it means to insure itself and to forestall all coming danger, the world only causes more woe and harm. Whenever worldlings see that things do not go as they expected, or that an accident happens, they begin to despond, think of one remedy and another, and imagine they must look for help, protection and safety, wherever they can and as best they can. They begin to patch and think to help matters by all sorts of strange craftiness and practices against God and their consciences to which they are driven by unbelief. Hence comes so much misfortune, misery, murder, war, and all misdoings of the wicked world. Each one means to carry out his affairs without God, to oppress and choke every one who would hinder them, and to throw all things higgledy-piggledy in a heap, rather than desist from his intent. From this all order is destroyed and naught but evil grows in governments and all other affairs.
Against this Christ would caution his believers that they may not waver, nor stake their affairs on that which is uncertain, vainly caring for the future, but at all times do that which is right; that they may not worry at the outcome of things, nor allow themselves to be swerved by future and uncertain good or evil. He would rather commend care to God, and then take everything that happens to them in good part and overcome it with faith and patience. On earth it cannot be otherwise than that each one in his daily calling meets with things other than he welcomes, which cause him trouble and labor. Hence Christ calls this life daily evil or misfortune. He would have us know it and be prepared for it, and not hanker after the world and become partakers in its unrighteousness and evil affairs, which lead us and others into ruin and damnation.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 332–33.
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