Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.…
I. ITS NATURE. The root of the original word is a verb which signifies "to divide." Such care as diverts and distracts the mind from its true and tranquil bent towards God. It is not common forethought and prudence that is forbidden. There is no warrant for carelessness, supineness, inactivity. Neither the indifference of the fatalist or of the sensualist are sanctioned here. But here is warrant for the man who believes that "all things work together for good;" that in things both great and small "the Lord will provide."
1. In disappointment — adversity where prosperity was expected — the loss of those on whom our strongest trust was reposed.
2. In the pressing claims of business or the family.
3. Relax not any reasonable and temperate exertion, but listen "God will provide" sing the birds of the air, and whisper the lilies of the field.
II. ITS CAUSES.
1. An undue value of this present world. We reverse the apostle's rule and walk by sight.
2. Practical distrust of God. The most orthodox are often guilty of this heresy. Faith in God is useless in the creed if it be absent from the heart.
3. Neglect of Christian privilege. "All things are yours." The promises are ours, but we neglect to plead and to trust them.
III. ITS EVILS.
1. Its essence is worldly mindedness. Unseen and eternal things are thrown into the background. And the snare is doubly dangerous and successful from the fact that it is not viewed as a sin, but cloaked under the specious names of prudence and care for family.
2. It cramps our benevolence. It knows nothing of lending unto the Lord and giving cheerfully. It anticipates the day when what can now be spent will be wanted. It will not trust God.
3. It engenders a close illiberal spirit in all the transactions of life. It stands by its rights, drives hard bargains, exacts the uttermost farthing. "I cannot afford it." "I must not wrong my family."
IV. THE REMEDY. Prayer, including blessings sought and evils deprecated ("supplication"), joined with an acknowledgment of mercies past.
1. Be it what it may it is the Christians privilege to spread it before the Lord, like Hezekiah. You have kind friends, sound advisers; but go first to God; and when before Him pour out your whole heart, and you shall find a calm and stillness in heart prayer, which shall soothe every grief and care to rest. If you do not find it all at once pray on.
2. Be thankful, i.e., draw upon your experience as well as your faith; and remember that "the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save," etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.