george_hancockstefanSufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

This title is the conclusion of Matthew Chapter 6 (the Beatitudes) in the section where Christ tells us not to worry about tomorrow. As one who learned English at the age of 16 and learned using the King James Version to memorize the Bible, I remember things in KJV.  In more modern translations it reads, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I think one day last week I had one of those days. In the immediate family there were people in the hospital and there were other people going to see the doctor dreading some of the results. In the congregation there were similar things – necessary visits to people facing similar situations.  In the church office there were some issues that needed to be resolved and their solutions seemed to hang on the negative balance. It seems that some of my advisors had similar days because I felt the advice I received was less cordial than I expected.

What I found more devastating was reminders of the things that I did not do in the past – things that were brought up from last week or sometimes last year. I felt that there were enough trouble today that I did not need reminders of yesterday. Towards the end of the day I found myself debating whether I should continue to answer the phone.

I started asking myself if I responded properly when I received the call, was my voice pastoral enough, did I exhibit enough empathy in my voice, did I say the right words, did I finish the conversation too early, did I pray sufficient for the people in need, could my morning class observe that I was struggling and that I did not have it all together?


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And in the midst of that day, another verse that starts with the same words stuck somewhere in the second letter to Apostle Paul came to my mind. He writes to the Corinthians and says, “And who is sufficient for all of these things? (2 Cor. 2:16b (KJV)).” In the days when evil seems to be so evident, when pain fills so many bodies, when hope is waning, Paul writes that our sufficiency is never in ourselves, but in God. He lifts himself from despondence with these words, “But thanks be to God who always leads in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him (2 Cor. 2:14).”

There have been days like this day last week when I felt that I had nothing to offer when I went to see a sick person or when I was called to provide counseling. Yet years later, I see the person that I have prayed for whom God healed and restored and they remind me of the prayer that I had uttered for them before the throne of God. I forgot that prayer, but they remember it because it was God’s fragrance manifested in our weakness.

The Psalmist was familiar with these days and he challenges himself and us with these words, “Call upon me on the day of your trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me (Psalm 50:15).”

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...