Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #23 Tomorrow, Tomorrow

July 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs | Liz Curtis Higgs

I didn’t see this one coming. Fifteen harmless words. A simple note of caution, reminding people not to boast about tomorrow. Seriously, who does such a thing?

You do, Liz.

Ouch. When the Lord pokes me like that, using the double-edged sword of His Word, I know I’m in trouble.

Even so, good news is on the horizon.
Because with God? There is always good news.

Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1

“Do not boast about tomorrow...” Proverbs 27:1

Do not boast about tomorrow… Proverbs 27:1

So, if we’re boasting about, say, Thursday. What does that look like, exactly?\

We forward our overloaded schedule to friends, asking for prayer, secretly hoping they’ll be impressed with all we’re doing.

We spend endless hours organizing our calendar in color-coded glory, instead of taking care of what needs doing right now.

We blithely tell people about our plans for next week, next month, next year, confident all will come to pass precisely as planned.

Sound familiar? Sadly, these examples were taken from my own life. Given enough time, I could come up with a dozen more. Groan.

“Do not boast about tomorrow...” Proverbs 27:1

Now, here comes this verse from Proverbs, urging us to “never brag” (ERV) or “brashly announce” (MSG) our plans for tomorrow. In fact, it’s best if we “do not talk much” (NLV), let alone “glory over” (WYC), what we will “do in the future” (ERV).

So, are we to live only for today? Forget about the future?

We’ve all seen tee shirts and coffee mugs proclaiming, carpe diem, meaning “seize the day.” Interesting that it’s only the first part of the famous Latin quote. The rest is quam minimum credula postero, which translates, “put very little trust in tomorrow.” That last bit? That’s the heart of this verse from Scripture.

Fleetwood Mac sings, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”

God says just the opposite. Stop thinking about tomorrow. Stop bragging about it, putting your trust in it, and counting on your future to unfold the way you expect it to.

Here’s why.

"...for you do not know what a day may bring...” Proverbs 27:1

…for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1

We think we know what tomorrow holds. We’re looking at our Google Calendar, our Franklin Planner, with something noted for every hour. Do this. Go there. Make that. It’s in ink, it’s a done deal, it’s a sure thing.

But the truth is, we “have no idea” (ERV) what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Someone may break their promise, leaving us high and dry. A change in the weather could undo our plans. A check we were depending on might not arrive in the mail. Our car may refuse to start. The school nurse could send a text, asking us to pick up our sick kid in the next 15 minutes.

Or we could get a phone call with the worst news imaginable.

Admit it. We “don’t know the first thing about tomorrow” (MSG) and can’t imagine “what will happen between now and then” (GNT).

"...for you do not know what a day may bring...” Proverbs 27:1

A thousand years after Solomon wrote Proverbs 27:1, Jesus offered the same wisdom: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34).

And James reminded us, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:13-14).

Wow. There’s a sobering thought. We might not even be here tomorrow. I looked up the recent stats, and every day on our planet more than 144,000 people die. That’s more than 6,000 people an hour. More than 100 people a minute.

Not trying to be gloomy. Just pointing out the obvious.
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone.

So, where is the good news in all this?

“There is surely a future hope for you...” Proverbs 23:18

God is asking us to trust our tomorrows to Him. To embrace the promises in His Word: “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18). To rest in knowing He’s in charge, and holds our future safely in His loving hands.

Joshua trusted the Lord implicitly, and so told his people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5). Not you will do amazing things, but the Lord will do them.

So, whenever we think about tomorrow, we’re not to focus on our ability to make things happen, but on God and what He is able to accomplish, which is “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

Good news, yes? This week’s verse reminds us, “Each day brings its own surprises.” (CEV) They could be good surprises. Something life-changing might happen tomorrow. Something fabulous that’s not on your list, not on your radar, yet God has already put it in motion.

James gives us the right way to handle tomorrow: “You ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15).

So, having a list of things to do is fine, if we seek God’s leading when we make those plans, and hand them over to him at the start of each day.

God has tomorrow covered, according to His perfect will. Our job? Embrace today. Carpe diem, if you will. As David said, “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad” (Psalm 118:24).

We’re rejoicing, Lord!
And trusting You. Today, tomorrow, and forever.

Proverbs 27:1

Now it’s your turn

  • Have you ever boasted about tomorrow?
  • In light of this verse, what might you do differently now?

Thanks for taking a moment to share. I cherish every comment, and respond as often as I can. Your sisters appreciate your honesty too!

Your free Printable of Proverbs 27:1 is ready to download, and all our weekly Proverbs to date are on Pinterest.

Sending a grateful hug from Louisville (and trying not to think about tomorrow being the last day of July?!).

Your sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

Your sister, Liz Curtis Higgs BibleGateway Blogger Grid Your 50 Favorite Proverbs | Liz Curtis Higgs
I love being part of (in)courage! I am honored to write for P31 Ministries Women of Faith | Unwrap the Bible

39 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #23 Tomorrow, Tomorrow

  1. Cindy Rogers July 30, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    What a wonderful article. And it really spoke to me. Thank you.

  2. Nieta St. Clair July 30, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    I cannot believe the timing of this verse! I had just hit the “send” button forwarding an email to a dear friend telling her all the plans my husband and I have made through the end of September and then I see your email pop up. I tend to be a planner and list maker…I am lost without a plan. I realize I need to back off a bit and relax, letting God take care of my days. Thanks for the timely reminder!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      Totally get this, Nieta, Me too. Nothing wrong with planning. It’s the boasting that gets us (well, me, anyway) in trouble. Bless you for sharing.

  3. Debby Duru July 30, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    I have always planned my day, and at some point I got tired of doing that because I never had time for others. I also planned what I wanted to do through the month. But thank God for His word, ever present in reminding us that He has given us today to handle, and tomorrow belongs to him. Bless you Liz!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 25, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      A good word, Debby. It isn’t planning that gets me in trouble; it’s boasting about what I have planned. Groan. You are so right: tomorrow belongs to the Lord alone.

  4. Amelia July 30, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Talk about timing for this one. I do try to plan but I try to keep in my mind that it may not go according to my plan but it will go according to HIS plan. Thank you for the reminder and have a blessed day!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs August 25, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      In the process of blogging, I’ve discovered something I didn’t expect: we may collectively choose the verses, but God chose them before we did! I’m meant to learn first in the studying, then share what I’ve learned in the writing, then it’s your turn to learn in the reading. Love. It.

  5. Christina Anderson July 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    All my tomorrows are in God’s hands. I live on a fixed income and have to trust God every day to provide for me because I often have more month than money. This proverb expresses so well the way I must live my life.

  6. Diane July 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Liz, I love all your blogs. This is no exception, AWESOME job! May, we trust all of our tomorrows to our Heavenly Father, who has a GREAT plan for us.

  7. jaime July 30, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    There is an expression that fits perfectly this week:”Man plans and God laughs”. I try to keep planning to a minimum because something always happens to force a change. Mandatory overtime on Saturday that wasn’t announced til Thursday, dad has an emergency 68 miles away, the car broke down, etc. I just do things spur of the moment now. Let God take control and follow Him.

  8. Susan July 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    We have secret sisters in our church (to encourage one another). My sister gave me a plaque that I look at every day that reads, “Don’t worry about tomorrow–God is already there.” That thought is such a comfort to me.

  9. Mary July 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    This verse, and your insight, are very timely. I have some big changes coming up–a move out of state and job change. There is a bit of a struggle internally, between my need to be in control, trusting Him to show me His plans and provisions, and a sense that I need to do my part. It makes sense to me to make plans in pencil as an act of faith. He has given me free will, after all. If I am intentionally looking for opportunities to serve Him, and to be used for His purpose & glory, have I then acted within His will? I’m not sure. I know He can redeem a plan B. That does not necessarily mean I have chosen His best for my life. Maybe I’m overthinking it. He and I will have to chat about that one day. For now, I will embrace the knowledge that “He is not the author of confusion,” and trust that I will hear his voice, and bend to His will. And, Lord, give me the words to speak when those closest to me press me for all the little details–the when, where, how and why.

  10. Cati July 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Wow Liz. I have things planned for next year even, and I now know that I have to give those plans over to God, and let him work things out the way that he wants. Thank you for this!! Hugs, Cati

  11. Cheri July 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    Thank you so much, Liz!! I make lists so I don’t forget. I am fully aware that God may alter that and it was so nice to be reminded!!

  12. Pam July 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Well, I am not a good planner at ALL(!) but I know that I may make boastful comments a time or two. This verse reminds me to keep my boasting in HIM as HE is the Author of my blessings and the One for Whom I live.
    I guess I AM good at planning to fail in the future (I think this is called “worrying”) so I DO need to focus on my present and trusting HIM with all tenses of my life: past, present and future.

  13. Shirley July 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    I am a worrier, this is both a personal and occupational hazard. I look at a situation, and try to look at all the things that can go wrong, then plan for them. This is just exhausting and discouraging, not to mention, useless and counterproductive. So, I am trying to stop going down this well worn path and trust God with both today and tomorrow. Great article, timely, and exactly what I needed to read. Thanks!

  14. Carol Weeks July 30, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    I read somewhere recently that worry is a sin because we are picturing a future without Christ in it. Wow! That really spoke to me. Without Christ in it? No thanks. I try to remember that when I catch myself wondering about tomorrow. Thanks for this great reminder. I admire your writing very much. You have helped me so much through the years.

  15. beth treaster July 30, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    First time I’ve read your devotions and really enjoyd it. Have read several of your books and enjoyed them…my favorite was Mixed Signals…have read it 2 or 3 times. Also thoroughly enjoyed the Thorn in my Heart series.

  16. deanna July 30, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Wonderful post; & I do it too! Isn’t it so subtle? “We forward our overloaded schedule to friends, asking for prayer, secretly hoping they’ll be impressed with all we’re doing.” First time reading your devotional Liz; thank you!

  17. Linda Weems July 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    I have always been a good one for planning my next day or even my whole week,and I have been learning it does not work.We need to be content with what we can get done this day and take one day at a time,always starting our day with our Lord.Thanks for this post .It is such a great reminder and explains so very well.God Bless!

  18. Gail Wenos July 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    Your blogs ALWAYS do it for me! This one actually gave me more hope than anything. I just finished putting one more thing on the calendar (another major doctor appointment that will take up much of the day)…squeezed it in with all of the other “to do’s” and found myself feeling totally overwhelmed as I wonder where it’s all going to end. So “Tomorrow, Tomorrow” was very timely for me. It brought me back to HIS Sovereignty over EVERYTHING in my life…including whatever is on my calendar. I need to remember that He has gone BEFORE me….HE is preparing the way ahead. I just need to take this life one moment at a time…not even a full day…moment by moment. Okay….I’m breathing better now….

  19. Judy RUSSELL July 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Always love your blog and the thoughts! Today’s is one we all struggle with – for sure! I have hanging above the bay window in our kitchen a plaque that reads: “Fear not tomorrow…God is already there.” Great reminder that I need every day!

  20. pamela July 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    God bless you, dear Lizzie! Adore you! Amen and Amen to this!!

  21. Renee Stoudt.( Campbell ) July 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    I found this to be true , a few weeks ago , a visit to my Cardiology Dr. had me in the hospital within an hour for 5 days..but I’m home now feeling better , but a little wiser , I feel this was a warning , not to forget my Open Heart surgery 5 1/2 yrs. ago , Lord willing I’ll have a few more yrs. but at 85 , I thank the Lord for each new day..::)

  22. Bonnie Roof July 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    Guilt as charged – thanks for the reminder, Liz!!

    Prayers, love, and hugs to you, sweet lady!!

    Post shared!!

  23. Chris July 31, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    I kept planning my future and it kept disappointing me. I found myself a failure and now at
    64 and retired all i have is today and no major achievements or purposes. Just firings from jobs because I was frustrated with my failings even when I did a pretty decent job.

    i am trying to think about what I do today and be satisfied with keeping house, garden, and living within my means. Your weekly balm soothes my heart.

  24. Elizabeth Jeffries July 31, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Oh oh. Mea Culpa. I’m double guilty of this one, Liz. Forgive me Lord. I’m waaaay too much in tomorrow and way too much telling about upcoming events. 🙁

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  26. fannie August 1, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Thanks for this. This week, I am working on preaching on a sermon Casting our cares to the Lord and your message come to me timely. I will speak to a younger adult group and I continue to ask the Lord to give me His word. Thanks for posting this and the amazing thing is I will get a reply from you. Remember, I am the one that miss Kentucky as I was in the seminary.

  27. Susan Gruener August 2, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    This was an ‘ouch’ for me too Liz. Although I memorized this verse when I was about 14 (I’m 62 now), it should have come to mind, before I boasted about my ‘tomorrows’. One such ‘boast’ made over 24 years ago kept coming to mind, until I told the Lord He is definitely in charge of ALL my ‘tomorrows’.
    Good words Liz – Thanks!

  28. Phyllis August 2, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Yes Ms. Liz I have boasted about things I have planned for tomorrow or next week.
    I believe I can plan whatever I like as long as I am willing for God to change it, sooo, that makes my plans tentative.
    I need to rely on the wisdom of God and trust his judgement, Jer 29:11 Let me know that God has his own plans for his church, and I’m a piece of his church so he will direct me in such a way that I will fit exactly where I belong in his plan and also If I will choose to let him , he will bring others to himself through me.
    Thanks for letting me share, hope this made sense.
    Love you all. 🙂

  29. Barbara Greason August 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    This is also what confirms, we must “Live In The Moment”. I feel my happiest doing this. Enjoying holding a child’s little soft hand. Enjoying reading your emails.. Thanks again for your work in the Lord.

  30. Angela Coles August 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    bravo Liz.
    It’s such a cultural thing isn’t it. To plan for the future, with career plans, bucket lists and schedules etc etc. So difficult to go against the flow, but so necessary.
    I bet the majority of our stress is caused by “worrying about tomorrow”, or having to lie upto the “boasts about tomorrow” that we made yesterday.

    • Carol August 7, 2014 at 12:52 am #

      Thank you for this proverb, Liz. I do think we get caught up in our own importance, possibly because women take on so much responsibility in our families and all of our relationships. It is a relief, actually, to remember that we are not in control. Someone much bigger and better is leading our tomorrows.

  31. Cathy Gross August 3, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    There is that line between being a Proverbs 31 woman who does not have to worry about the cold of winter for her family because she is an industrious planner and worker and she laughs at the days to come (NIV) and “do not boast about tomorrow” part. Balance…God’s wisdom injected into our lives.
    My brother suffered a cervical neck fracture not once but twice. Though still able to walk he lives with severe limitations every single day. His accident
    showed my family how, in an instant, life changes….one auto accident away from normal as we knew it. God intervened and is working His plan. How thankful I am for that piece of news!

  32. Christina H. August 7, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Thank you for this. So hard to not rush ahead and live for future plans. To stay here in the present is not my forte! Guilty of the bragging about my tomorrows. Challenged to embrace the gifts and battles of today, to be a blessing instead of trying to get something from every moment and everything.

  33. Mary Ellen August 8, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    How true-how true! Tomorrow is not a given! Today matters. I pray that I let God hold the future, and concentrate on loving today. My plans often go astray on the whims of the world, but God never fails.


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