Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I’ll love ya tomorrow, it’s only a day away.
-From the musical Annie-
We bet on it. Free time sprouts. Problems vanish. Life relaxes. More money. More friends. Weigh less.
The problem is tomorrow never comes. It only arrives in the disguise of today. A hamburger joint hung a sign designed to draw customers. It read, “Free burgers tomorrow.” People would flock the next day wanting their free burgers. The owner would point to the sign and say, “it’s today, not tomorrow.”
In everyone’s life, tomorrow arrives with the sun breaking the horizon.
How does our desired tomorrow arrive?
Let’s look at the lesson I learned.
When I was a boy, my mother had friends who had a cotton farm in Stanton, Texas.
We went each year, and it was a time for great entertainment for someone who lived in the city.
My brother and I Ioved climbing over tractors and chasing rabbits between cotton stalks.
But there was one thing I hated.
Each July, we went for a week, but it wasn’t for rabbit chasing.
My mother put us to work picking black-eyed peas from the acre containing the “garden.” And I hated picking peas. It was hard and dull.
Then, it got worse. At night, I was handed a pan with “a mess of peas”. My mother told us to snap the pea pods in the pan and shell them. I had to break open the hulls and slide the peas into the pot.
I can think of nothing more boring than shelling peas.
But once we finished picking and shelling, I was free to race to tractors and pump-jacks. That’s when my mother and her friend got busy.
They had stocked up on Mason jars, seals, and lids. For the next several days, they “put up” or canned the shelled peas.
In the end, we would go home, where the cases of peas replaced the monsters under the bed.
Time passed, and blue norther winters descended.
Then, sometime in the middle of winter, my mother would drag a case of peas out from under the bed for dinner. We would enjoy the peas I hated picking and shelling.
And, I have to admit. I loved the peas as much as I did picking them.
The lesson is clear. If you want peas in winter, you pick them in summer.
But let’s broaden that.
The principle is:
If you want a better tomorrow, do something about it today.
People struggle with this because they believe the Bible counsels the opposite.
On the one hand, Jesus says:
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
And yet, Solomon seems to point a different finger.
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6–8)
While some hear the Bible in a discordant minor key, harmony hides between the lines. Jesus tackles the issue of anxiety and worries over a future that none of us can know. Solomon observes nature’s lessons. Even Jesus sweeps his hand toward fields and nests to describe his point.
Neither the ant nor the lily nor the bird worries. It does as created.
Jesus spoke of “the trouble of the day.” Take care of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.
It remains a pea-patch lesson. Tomorrow comes from what happens today. Take care of today, and you don’t have to care about tomorrow. Save enough money, and you can retire. Get your car’s oil changed when needed and you avoid getting to know Tony, the tow-truck driver.
Think about your future self. Five years from now, what do you wish you would have done had you known? Regret vaporizes with a little thought and care today.
What, if done today, you won’t have to do tomorrow? On April 15th, some are frantic, while some relax. The one who set up a filing system for tax statements and expenses and diligently filed as they arrived don’t sweat bullets. What do you want to avoid tomorrow? What can you do today to avoid that prospect?
Futures and eternities get built a day at a time.
The Chinese proverb reminds us,
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Do you need to pick peas today?