Christian and Unchristian Carefulness
Luke 21:34
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life…

Take care not to be overtaken and overweighted by care is the simple and intelligible paradox of the text; in other words, have a wise care lest you have much care that is unwise. There is a carefulness that is eminently godly and worthy, the absence of which is not only faulty and dangerous, but even guilty and fatal; but there is another carefulness which is an excess, a wrong, an injury in the last degree.

I. A WISE ORDINATION OF GOD. Surely it is in pure kindness to us that God has ordained that if we will not work neither shell we eat; that possession and enjoyment involve thoughtfulness and activity on our part. To be provided with everything we could wish for without the necessity for habitual consideration as well as regular exertion is found to be hurtful, if not positively disastrous to the spirit. The necessity for care, in the sense of a thoughtful provision for this life, involves two great blessings.

1. The formation of many homely but valuable virtues - the cultivation of the intellect, forethought, diligence, sobriety of thought and conduct, regularity of daily habits, the practice of courtesy, and the avoidance of offense, etc.

2. The practice of piety; there is perhaps no better field in which we can be serving God than in that of our daily duties as citizens of this world. Whether it be the counting-house, the desk, the factory, the shop, the home, the school, - in each and in all of these there is a constant opportunity for remembering and doing the will of God; there will true and genuine godliness find a field for its exercise and its growth.

II.. OCCASION FOR FILIAL TRUST. Care, in the sense of anxiety, about our temporal affairs is an evil to be met and mastered by Christian thought. Christ has said to us, "Take no thought [be not anxious] for your life" (Matthew 6:25); Paul writes, "Be careful [anxious] for nothing," etc. (Philippians 4:6); Peter says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). Clearly our Christian duty is to do our best with head and hand, by thoughtfulness and diligence, to ask for God's direction and blessing, and then to put our trust in him, resting humbly but confidently on his Word of promise. This is a promise where there is much occasion for filial trustfulness. When the way is dark we must not yield to an unspiritual anxiety, but rise to a holy, childlike faith in our heavenly Father.

III. A SPHERE FOR DETERMINED LIMITATION. The great and the growing temptation is to fill our lives and hearts with the affairs of time. No more needful or seasonable counsel could be given us than this of our Lord, "Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be overcharged with.., the cares of this life." Undue and unwise carefulness about these mundane interests does two evil things: it wears out that which is good - good health, good spirits, good temper; and it shuts out that which is best - for it excludes the worship and the direct service of God; it leaves no time for devout meditation, for profitable and instructive reading, for religious exercises, for Christian work. It shuts men up to the lesser and lower activities; it dwarfs their life, it starves their soul; they "lose their life itself for the sake of the means of living." Two things are requisite, requiring a very firm and vigorous hand.

1. To resist the temptation to enlarge our worldly activities when such enlargement means spiritual shrinkage, as it very often does.

2. To insist upon it that the cares of life shall not exclude daily communion with God and the culture of the soul. If we do not exhibit this wise care against the unwise carefulness, we shall

(1) displease our Divine Lord by our disobedience;

(2) sacrifice ourselves to our circumstances;

(3) be unready for the advancing future; that day will come upon us unawares, and we shall not be "worthy to stand before the Son of man" (see next homily). - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

WEB: "So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly.

A Heart Overcharged with Care
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