“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…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 6:25-34 RSV)
God reminds us of the basics sometimes through the most surprising people. I expect Matthew 6 is a well- known passage to those of us who grew up attending church, but how often in the midst of busy or worrying times do we forget entirely about it? Or we think, “Yes, we really shouldn’t worry; we know God is in control, but…”
A couple of years ago, I saw an interview with Stephen Colbert about his faith. He was asked what his favorite scripture was, and he began rattling off from memory an entire passage from Matthew 6. Then he pointed out something startling: Jesus doesn’t say “try” not to worry. He says “do not worry.” It’s a command! I was floored.
Although we will not always succeed, seeing this passage as a command rather than “just a good idea” brings us much closer to what God wants for us. “Oh, it would be nice if I had faith enough not to worry, but that’s just not possible for me.” Are not all things possible in Christ?
St. Teresa of Avila was a Carmelite nun who lived in Spain during the fourteenth century. One might wonder why her writings would apply to believers working in the twenty-first century. St. Teresa of Avila knew about worry, and she knew about trusting God in the midst of that worry. She said:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
Let nothing disturb you. Are you currently disturbed by events happening on your campus or in your life?
Let nothing frighten you. We can’t turn the television on without being frightened.
All things are passing away. Are you afraid “the end is near” for libraries as we know them?
God never changes. In the midst of all these changes we know one thing that will not.
Patience obtains all things. Everything must happen in God’s time, not ours.
Whoever has God lacks nothing. Lacks nothing. Money cannot solve things: only God can.
God alone suffices. When worries threaten to overwhelm me, I try to keep repeating this: God alone suffices.
Alison is an Electronic Resources & Instruction Librarian at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. She has been a member of ACL since 2004.