fret not. do good.

I was a tuba player. For seven years of my life. For two years in college I was the fourth chair out of four. The low expectations suited me (pun intended).

Every year during spring break, we went on tour, visiting churches and schools and sunshine. We got to know people on the long bus rides to Florida. Those of us who were undisciplined musicians actually improved because we were practicing every day.

One tour, we studied a psalm as a group. Psalm 37. “Fret not on account of evildoers” it starts out. I remember it well for the feel of the first two words. “Fret not”.

In the worrying and the wondering and the processing and the tapes that play in our heads over and over at night as we wonder about the state of the world and fear for our children and watch ulcers develop from watching endless news, “Fret not” has the impact of a hand slapping the table, stopping our thoughts.

Worrying about, babbling about, fingerpointing about evil solves nothing. It’s just fretting.

But what should I do with all that time I spent fretting?

David lists many things. Here are four.

  • Trust in the Lord.
  • Do good.
  • Dwell in the land.
  • Cultivate faithfulness.

These are things that take time as well. Trust is a cumulative process, not an instant state. “Doing good” is intentionally weighing choices, picking right ones, and acting.  Dwelling is a settling down, claiming space, being a daily person. It’s baking bread, doing laundry, building cabinets, tending trees, putting your name on a cubicle and signing your work. And “cultivating faithfulness”? It’s doing these things over and over and over. Faithfully.

I never practiced the tuba much. I’m working more on cultivating faithfulness. And if you want a place to start, read Psalm 37.

For more on my band days, read On Reg the percussionist and making choices right

7 thoughts on “fret not. do good.

  1. Joseph Ruiz

    Love Psa 37 try to think of it each day…. that said I needed to hear this word for some reason I can never hear Fret not too much. Thanks for the illustration of cultivating faithfulness, doing good ….
    Jon thanks for daily meaning filled 300 Words – for me it is a spiritual vitamin that is sometimes an antibiotic (now that is a strange combination) but sometimes I need something stronger than a vitamin.
    Thanks for doing this.
    Grace and Peace


  2. Caryn Caffee

    So today, I saw two 6th grade boys fighting on someone’s front lawn, while driving home through my neighborhood. There were a bunch of kids watching. I stopped the car, got out, made sure they weren’t just horsing around. They weren’t. So, I yelled at them to stop, or I would call the police. The 2 boys couldn’t hear me, but their “friends” did, and pulled one of the boys off the other. Then they ran away.
    There was a woman in a parked car, just watching. I assume she was there early for carpool, as this happened across from the elementary school. She didn’t do anything. When I came back to my car, she said, “They’re out here every day.”
    I have been fretting a bit since this afternoon, while making chili and cornbread – dwelling, right? It upset me to see those kids intentionally trying to hurt each other. Fretting about violence, and kids, and neighborhoods, and wondering if my tires are going to be slashed, my house vandalized. Even though I can’t ID them, I’m pretty sure these kids walk by my house every day after school, and they probably know my minivan. I concluded that if one or two kids went home less injured/wounded because I stepped in, then it’d be worth something like tires or paint, if it comes to that.
    However, I am still fretting about the state of the world. So, back to Trust in the Lord.


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