Question: "What does it mean that sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34)?"
Answer: There are so many circumstances and situations in this world that cause us to worry. The unknown of what the future holds often keeps us awake at night or consumes our thoughts with anxiety or concern. However, Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow. He said, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34, ESV) or “Today’s trouble is enough for today” (NLT).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches His disciples not to worry. He challenges all of us not to worry about our lives (Matthew 6:25), not to worry about what we will eat and wear (verse 31), and not to worry about tomorrow (verse 34). Instead of worrying, we can trust God. We don’t have to worry about our daily provisions because God is trustworthy as our Provider (verses 26, 30, 32). Instead of worrying, we can come to God for our daily needs in prayer (verse 11) and trust that He will provide. Jesus tells us we also shouldn’t worry about our future because sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Worrying about the future is futile. We cannot fix anything by worrying. Neither can we change any circumstance or future event by worrying, just as we cannot add any height to our stature by worrying (Matthew 6:27). We are also not guaranteed that things will happen the way we worry they will. The trouble we anticipate tomorrow may never happen (Proverbs 27:1).
Another problem with worrying is that it takes our focus off today. Jesus reminds us that sufficient for the day is its own trouble. This means that each day has its own troubles and challenges to be met in a godly manner, without adding hypothetical problems that might arise tomorrow. In meeting today’s challenges, we can better face tomorrow’s (Matthew 13:12). Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Matthew 6:34 is, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (MSG).
Jesus tells us what to focus on for today: His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Sufficient for the day is its own trouble does not mean we do not plan for the future. It means we choose not to worry or be anxious about tomorrow and instead focus on what He calls us to do today. Tomorrow’s trouble will come tomorrow, and when it does, God will still be there with us (Psalm 73:23–26; Matthew 28:20). He is the One who holds tomorrow in His hands (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 23; James 4:13–15). We should trust God to provide what is needed day by day. As the hymn “Day by Day and with Each Passing Moment” by Carolina Sandell says,
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what he deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
When we are tempted to worry about tomorrow, we need to refocus and remember that sufficient for the day is its own trouble. God is trustworthy to hold our tomorrow, and He will lovingly give us what we need to get through it then: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23).