Trouble and worry go together like an old pair of shoes. Quoting from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, a former tax collector by the name of Matthew wrote in his gospel (Matthew 6:34):
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew did not grow up dreaming of a career as a tax collector. His job was offered to him by the Roman authorities who occupied Israel at the time Matthew was alive. Maybe he was an educated man or had other qualities that made him stand out. He accepted the job because his own financial situation may have left him no choice – who knows? What we do know about Matthew is his instant attraction to Jesus when He came along. And Jesus, who knows human hearts, read him like a book.
Inspired by Matthew’s heart, Jesus told a story. In His story a Pharisee, overly impressed with his own accomplishments, is contrasted with a tax collector who humbly asks God for mercy. Matthew had never laid eyes on Jesus before, so this was the first time He witnessed one of His public speeches. And suddenly it dawned on him: The hero of the story was a tax collector. Wow, someone like him – a hero?
Matthew the tax collector was viewed as someone who supported the Roman Empire and therefore was despised by the people. As time went by he grew tough and stopped caring about the hateful comments he heard almost every day, but the life of a public enemy was lonely. Jesus’s story cut him to the core, and he wanted to be near this man for the rest of his life. He got up and left his tax collector’s booth for good. Even though he just barely knew Him, Matthew trusted Jesus completely. Following Jesus, he threw all of his worries overboard and began to live one day at a time.
Trouble is a standard byproduct of living in this world. There is no such thing as an untroubled life for anybody. What Jesus is offering us is peace in the midst of adversity. Living like the birds in the air or the flowers in the field is living one day at a time without worrying about the future. God won’t take away our troubles, but He is well able to take care of our worried minds.