Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.…
Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. He is launched on the storm-tossed sea of life. He is a reed which grows up to be shaken of the wind. The pleasantest paths are not without their sorrows. The rose, however sweet it is, has its thorns. What then shall we do with our sorrows?
1. It is impossible to eradicate them, for in the very resistance we find a new cause of suffering. As the fabled Hydra of old, with one head severed from his body, sprang forward with a hundred in its place, so shall our resisted troubles be.
2. It is folly to resist them; as idiotic a task as Don Quixote's against the windmills.
3. Shall we suffer, then? We could if we were as strong as Atlas, who bore the world on his shoulders; but we are not Atlases.
4. Take them quickly, then, to the Divine Burden bearer. This is the panacea for all the ills that flesh is heir to.
I. BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING.
1. Because there are higher considerations. Here we spend no end of time and thought on things which are not worth it, and neglect matters which deserve our most earnest attention. "The life is more than meat," and the soul than life. The doctor's bell and knocker never seem at rest; nor are the poor patients to be blamed for their importunity; but how is it that the body casket is so cared for and the soul jewel so neglected. Men are careful even to madness about their money, but utterly careless about eternal riches.
2. Because those necessary trifles about which we are obliged to think in some degree are all seen to and arranged by God. Cast, then, "all your care upon Him; He careth for you."
3. Because the smallest affairs of life are entirely beyond our control. Man can do a great deal — he can flash a message round the world, and through the microphone hear the footstep of a fly, but he cannot add one cubit to his stature.
4. Because nothing is too small for God to arrange for. We are ready to believe that nothing is too great for God to care for, but it is difficult for us to confide in Him in little things. But the God who made the ocean makes the dew drop, and cares for both.
II. BE PRAYERFUL FOR EVERYTHING. Some mercies will come unasked for; but those are sweetest which come in answer to prayer.
1. Because of the privilege of prayer. We have not only the care but the heart of God. The blood of God's dear Son has opened the way to the mercy seat.
2. Because of the power of prayer. It has a soothing effect, as we know from earthly confidences.
3. Because there is no limit to prayer. There is nothing we may not ask Him about. It is His will. "I will be enquired of."
III. BE THANKFUL FOR ANYTHING.
1. Because we do not deserve anything but wrath.
2. Because ingratitude is one of the worst of sins. We are thankful for the hospitality of earthly friends, and yet though we have so much from God how thankless we are. Thankless hearts are like scentless flowers.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.