By: Dennis Bates
I’m going to reveal shades of my misspent youth for a few lines today. When I was growing up, if, in fact, I ever really came to the end of that road, there were several critical influences on my formative years. One of them was MAD Magazine. I read it whenever I could get hold of it, which may explain a lot about why I’m the way I am.
For some reason its irreverent satire of just about everything, including itself, appealed to me and I couldn’t wait for the next issue to see who was next in line for it’s not-so-velvet touch. I heard it said once that satire should be used like a rapier not a battle axe and I suppose that has some merit, but the editors and writers of MAD never read that. If they did, they didn’t observe it. In fact, battle axe’s were some of the more subtle weapons used by MAD, battering rams being weapons of standard issue.
The main character in MAD, which is still in publication by the way, is a character by the name of Alfred E. Neuman, who looks a little like an ugly Howdy Doody without the stings. His favorite saying is “What, me worry?” Words to live by, in my opinion, and still a slogan I find very appropriate in many situations. When you think about it, what does worrying actually accomplish other than give mothers something to do when their children are out late. (I wouldn’t personally know about that; I’ve just heard things from my mother.)
At any rate, as much as I hate to debunk a myth, dear old Alfred did not come up with that saying; it, or something very similar has Biblical origins, and that fact alone ought to be enough to set many so-called secular minds spinning.
In fact, Jesus himself talks about worry in Matthew 6, verses 25-34, ending with a quote I’m sure many people know even if they don’t know that it comes from scripture:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I know some people are going to maintain that they don’t worry…they plan, and they will argue there’s a difference. Being one of the absolute worst planners in the world personally, I wouldn’t know much about that difference or whether it’s a distinction without one. All I know for sure is most of the time we Christians worry too much. Jesus said so himself and warned us not to worry about what we will eat, what we will drink or what we will wear. What we need will all be provided.
The prophets of doom, who sometimes masquerade as the talking heads on television “news” programs, warn us about fuel shortages, global warming, shrinking investments, and all those other things that sound an awful lot like what we eat, drink and wear. Our politicians on both sides of the aisle are throwing billions, bordering on trillions, of our dollars at things and people who have failed and probably deserve to enjoy the fruits of their failures in many instances. And which of these programs will add a single hour to our lives? Probably few, if any.
“…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well.”
We’ve tried everything else; why not give this a chance? God’s in charge and even Alfred knows that, so maybe he has it right. “What, me worry.”
I think not. I’m with Alfred on this one.