“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
- Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
This scripture took on a whole new meaning when I immersed myself into the culture of South Sudan. I live among a people who (even unintentionally) simply live for the day. Many wearing clothes that are tattered and worn with holes in them. Where food and income comes from the ground, where they poured sweat and hard physical labor into cultivating (gardening). Many have the mindset of a fatalist which is defined as the acceptance of all things and events as inevitable, including death.
The culture I came from was from extreme opposites. A culture where fine clothing and having the next best thing is a must. Food is bountiful from grocery stores to restaurants. Having a savings fund that continually grows each month for those emergencies that may come at any time is highly encouraged and taught.
Neither is better than the other; they both have their flaws. But there is an immense beauty in living for the day. A sense of being present and intentional for tomorrow may not come.
Trust. Surrender. Faith. They each are so intricately entangled. Even as one culture saves financially and has nice clothing and loads of delicious food, do they not worry and ultimately trust that He has them? As the other culture wears the same outfit they wore for the last three days, plant and harvests groundnuts (peanuts) that will feed the entire family that night, do they not hope and believe that He has more for them including life?
Two opposite cultures reading the same scripture. What I hope to see in the American culture as well as the South Sudanese culture is this, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”