In 1988, singer Bobby McFerrin topped the Billboard pop music charts with his Grammy-winning a cappella song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” (If you know the song, it’s probably stuck in your head now.) It was a catchy and popular tune, but it’s not excellent advice for life—especially for finances.

The truth is, Bobby McFerrin wasn’t completely wrong. He was half right. Jesus himself told his disciples not to worry. But simply deciding to “be happy” instead won’t help for long.

I’ve faced plenty of adversity in my life. I’m sure you have, too. Worrying certainly couldn’t have prevented any of my troubles, but at the most difficult moments of my life, I found myself unable to just “be happy.”

Jesus, Bobby McFerrin, and I all agree about one thing: worrying does nothing. Of course, it’s Jesus—not a pop singer from the 1980s—who provides the answer. In Matthew Chapter 6, he said:

I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

For most of my life, I interpreted Jesus’ words to mean that I shouldn’t think about the future. But that’s not what Jesus said. He never said not to think about tomorrow; he said not to worry about it and to seek the kingdom first.

If we seek the kingdom of God, we will read all of His Word and live our lives in light of the Lord’s promises and His commands. What else does Scripture instruct us to do besides exhorting us not to worry? Among many other things, it teaches us to be wise and to be prepared. By refusing to worry, while being wise and prepared, we can face difficulties in the future.

When I have faced major problems in my life, they have often come with financial challenges as well. When I was unemployed, I wondered where I would find a new source of income. When family members have been hospitalized, I have received sizeable medical bills. In those moments, I trusted the Lord to provide. But I was also prepared—with savings, emergency funds, insurance, and other tools.

There are many ways we can prepare ourselves and our families for times of financial hardship. I believe it’s wise and biblical to do so. If you have been worrying about the future, search the Scriptures for practical principles to put in place. Seek His Kingdom, His righteousness, and His ways. By doing so, you will gain wisdom that will keep you from worry.