What, me worry?

Alfred E NeumanIn November 1954, Alfred E. Neuman made his Mad Magazine debut on the front cover of The Mad Reader. The iconic figure was known for his comic book caption, “What, me worry?”

There are times when anyone wishes that s/he could share some of Neuman’s cavalier, no worries approach to life. This is especially true in an age that is dominated with catastrophic financial news, wars, and other issues that bring boat loads of worry.

Jesus said categorically that we should not worry. Americans have special problems with this advice. We like to take things into our own hands. We like the feeling of being in control. We’re the “can do” people.

Ancient Israel found out where worry can lead. At Mount Sinai they worried about what had happened to their leader, Moses. Their solution was to create an idol in the shape of a calf, crafted out of their donated gold jewelry. About two centuries later, they worried about governance which lead to the establishment of a monarchy. The result was a long line of good and bad kings that taxed the nation, led them into war, and incurred God’s wrath.

At times of great worry, we look for a tranquilizer that will rest our minds. Jesus said that the best solution is to live one day at a time. Anything more than that leads to idolatry–sculpting idols that we hope will give us the security we seek.

Worry doesn’t help. Letting God be in charge does help.