Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.…
I. AN EVIL. Anxiety is to be avoided.
1. For our own sakes. The exhortation does not discourage economy and industry, although some fanatics make it do so. The same religion which tells us to be careful for nothing tells us also to be diligent in business, and if anyone under the cloak of the text becomes careless of the duties of life he denies "the faith and is worse than an infidel." Still there are some virtues which become vices.
(1) Here is a man who by unstinted economy heaps up riches, and knows not who will reap them. The world promised him happiness in riches, and outside people say, "What a happy man." But look at the wrinkles on his face; he is fearful of losing his riches and is apprehensive of beggary and dies, sometimes by his own hand.
(2) Here is another, careful of his good name — a good thing in itself — but the least thing said about him he feels acutely, and his peace is destroyed. The Christian's duty is clear. He must not fritter away his life in anxiety about circumstances or good name. Anxiety cumbers people as it did Martha, and is both unwise and injurious. There are trials enough without making them. The anxious man is a wholesale trouble maker.
2. Because we are not our own. This is a question which affects both conscience and honesty. God made us. What we possess is not our own. God has purchased us by the precious blood of Christ.
3. Because anxiety is distrust of God. The promises cannot be broken; however adverse the circumstances. Anxiety is thinking meanly of God. While religion allows of grief, she forbids excessive grief. It is difficult to bear with affliction, but it is cowardly to succumb.
II. A PREVENTATIVE. Prayer is an appeal to Deity, which shows that we are not independent of Him; but it is an appeal to a Father. To be successful it must fulfil certain conditions.
1. It must be thankful — even in time of sorrow. Who of us has not something to be thankful for — food, raiment, etc.
2. It must be particular. There are some things which people think too insignificant; but who has sufficient knowledge to determine that. Has God ever rebuked you for going to Him? God cares for the sparrows, much more then for you.
3. Continual. No solitary supplication was ever forgotten. The answers will surely come, although in an unexpected way.
III. A CONSOLATION.
1. The peace of God. We do not know how it is infused into the heart, "It passeth all understanding;" but we may all feel it if we like.
2. It is the Saviour's legacy; and nobody should be defrauded of it — "My peace."
3. Some people try to keep the peace of God instead of letting the peace of God keep them.
4. Its medium is "Christ Jesus."
(W. M. Punshon, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.