What, Me Worry?

J. Davy Crockett III

Are you mad with worry? Most people seem to be. Jesus Christ gave some important instructions about worrying—and if you follow those instructions, you can find peace!

We may laugh when we think of the old MAD Magazine character Alfred E. Neuman, with his famous line: "What, me worry?" And we do all worry, though some of us worry more than others. Worry uses up our mental energy, our time and our resources, yet it produces nothing, and does not give us joy or peace of mind. As the old proverb says, "Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "worry" as: "mental distress or agitation resulting from concern, usually for something impending or anticipated." It seems that anticipating problems, real or imagined, brings trouble and anxiety to most folks' minds.

Most of us realize that worry is counterproductive, though we do it anyway. But what does it do for us? The late motivational speaker Earl Nightingale wrote, many years ago: "Worry is like a dense fog that can cloud our vision, knock our perspective out of kilter, and slow us down." Nightingale categorized our common worries as follows:

  • Things that never happen: 40 percent
  • Things in the past: 30 percent
  • Needless worry about health: 12 percent
  • Petty, miscellaneous worries: 10 percent


In other words, according to Nightingale, "92 percent of worries are pure fog with no substance at all." That leaves about 8 percent of our worries as legitimate matters worthy of our concern. You might arrange the numbers a bit differently than Nightingale did, but his point is a good one.

What does your Bible say about worry? Its most famous instruction is found in these words of Jesus Christ: "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:31–34).

Christians are not called to be apathetic; they are to have care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25). And when there are serious concerns—Nightingale's 8 percent—we need to act on those concerns. But when we act, we should take comfort in knowing that God will see to our needs if we follow His guidance. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6–7). Paul understood that to worry is to doubt God's ability to help.

Israel's King David also understood this when he admonished, "Fret not yourself" (Psalm 37:1, KJV). If you find you are prone to worry, take your cares and anxieties to God in prayer. In doing so, you can gain the real peace of mind that comes only from Him.

A wise grandmother once put it this way: "There is no sense in making mountains out of mole hills; all it does is exhaust the mole!" If you build a close relationship with God, you will gain the understanding that will give you transcendent peace. Read our vital booklet, Your Ultimate Destiny, which will guide and inspire you toward this worthwhile goal.