IN a number of contemporary films the main character is depicted as one who is childishly carefree about the future. Such characters can be charming for the duration of a two-hour movie. Actually having to deal with a friend or family member like that can be less charming, even problematic.
Yet in Matthew's Gospel we read that Christ Jesus tells us, ``Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself'' (6:34). Couldn't these words be thought of as promoting a carefree attitude and behavior? Jesus certainly knew the law of good that the Scriptures reveal, and this enabled him to be certain that future ``evils'' would be effectively dealt with by God's healing response. But he knew it precisely because he was already demonstrating it, and was
at each point obedient to Christ, the understanding of man's existence as God's spiritual offspring.
The Master's words are immediately followed by a warning: ``Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.'' When I take these statements together, then, the message I find isn't that we should be irresponsible, but rather that we shouldn't let concern about future difficulties be an excuse to distract us from dealing with today's requirements. Looking to the future, the Master saw no less of the Christ there than he was experiencing in the present. He knew his safety and security were permanently assured because he would always be able to trust God, by whom he was already being sustained.
Similarly, we have a right genuinely to know that tomorrow's cares will be effectively taken care of by God's law of good. And this right is earned in proportion as we prove that fact in the laboratory of the concerns we're already facing. A true freedom from care is wholly the opposite of the ignorant relinquishment of worries that calls itself carefree and glories in its own repudiation of responsibility. Genuine carefree living relishes increasing responsibility as the arena in which to prove the fixe d fact of the dependability of the law of God. This proof of God's care will in turn establish more and more freedom from any supposed need to fear for the future. And our freedom will be based on an ever-deepening, consistent experience of the dependability of God's steadfast control.
Genuine liberty from cares and anxieties inevitably does come from discovering the divinely scientific truth of God's absolute spiritual control of His universe. According to the book of Acts in the Bible, it is in God, Spirit, that we truly ``live, and move, and have our being'' (17:28). That means that man is spiritual, not material. So man is not at the mercy of material circumstances and conditions. Steadfast security is found in recognition of this ideal of man's spiritual selfhood--our real identit ies.
To the degree we are actively demonstrating man's spiritual state, fears that previously seemed to be legitimate do lose their hold over us. Anxieties are increasingly stilled and overcome as we find that prayer yields practical results that meet our needs for health, supply, and harmonizing of relationships.
As we do so, ``tomorrow'' ceases to loom as an evil we hope to avoid and increasingly appears as a promising prospect that we look forward to ushering in on the heels of a day already filled with proofs of God's goodness. Then, not as blind optimists, but as proven demonstrators of Christ, Truth, we'll be able to agree with the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, who writes in her Miscellaneous Writings: ``That to-morrow starts from to-day and is one day beyond it, robes the fut ure with hope's rainbow hues'' (p. 339).