1 Peter 5:5-7
Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…
I. THE DISEASE OF CARE.
1. Care even when exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, hath in itself the nature of sin. Anything which is a transgression of God's command is sin, and if there were no other command, the one in our text being broken would involve us in iniquity. Besides, the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting of ourselves into His place, to do for Him that which we dream He either cannot or will not do; we attempt to think of that which we fancy He will forget; or we labour to take upon ourselves that burden which He either is not able or willing to carry for us.
2. But, further, these anxious cares very frequently lead to other sins, sometimes to overt acts of transgression. The tradesman who is not able to leave his business with God, may be tempted to indulge in the tricks of trade; nay, he may be prevailed upon to put out an unholy hand with which to help himself. Now this is forsaking the fountain to go to the broken cisterns, a crime which was laid against Israel of old, a wrath provoking iniquity.
3. As it is in itself sin, and the mother of sin, we note again that it brings misery, for where sin is, sorrow shall soon follow.
4. Besides this, these anxious cares do not only lead us into sin, and destroy our peace of mind, but they also weaken us for usefulness. When one has left all his cares at home, how well he can work for his Master, but when those cares tease us in the pulpit, it is hard preaching the gospel. There was a great king who once employed a merchant in his service as an ambassador to foreign courts. Now the merchant before he went away said to the king, "My own business requires all my care, and though I am always willing to be your majesty's servant, yet if I attend to your business as I ought, I am sure my own will be ruined." "Well," said the king, "you take care of my business, and I will take care of yours. Use your best endeavours, and I will answer for it that you shall be nothing the loser for the zeal which you take from yourself to give to me." And so our God says to us, as His servants, "Do My work, and I will do yours. Serve Me, and I will serve you."
5. These carking cares, of whose guilt perhaps we think so little, do very great damage to our blessed and holy cause. Your sad countenances hinder souls who are anxious, and they present a ready excuse for souls who are careless.
6. I close the description of this matter by saying that in the most frightful manner cares have brought many to the poisoned cup, the halter, and the knife, and hundreds to the madhouse. What makes the constant increase of our lunatic asylums; why is it that in almost every country in England new asylums have to be erected, wing after wing being added to these buildings in which the imbecile and the raving are confined? It is because we will carry what we have no business to carry — our own cares, and until there shall be a general keeping of the day of rest throughout England, and until there shall be a more general resting of our souls and all we have upon God, we must expect to hear of increasing suicides and increasing lunacies.
II. THE BLESSED REMEDY TO BE APPLIED. Somebody must carry these cares. If I cannot do it myself, can I find anyone who will? My Father who is in heaven stands waiting to be my burden bearer.
1. One of the first and most natural cares with which we are vexed is the care for daily bread. Use your most earnest endeavours, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God; if you cannot do one thing do another; if you cannot earn your bread as a gentleman earn it as a poor man; if you cannot earn it by the sweat of your brains do it by the sweat of your brow; sweep a crossing if you cannot do anything else, for if a man will not work neither let him eat; but having brought yourself to that, if still every door is shut, "Trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed."
2. Businessmen, who have not exactly to hunt for the necessaries of life, are often tormented with the anxieties of large transactions and extended commerce. I say, "Brother, hold hard here, what are you doing? Are you sure that in this you have used your best prudence and wisdom, and your best industry, and given it your best attention?" "Yes." Well then, what more have you to do? Suppose you were to weep all night, will that keep your ship from going on the Goodwin sands? Suppose you could cry your eyes out, will that make a thief honest? Suppose you could fret yourself till you could not eat, would that raise the price of goods? One would think if you were just to say, "Well, I have done all that is to be done, now I will leave it with God," that you might go about your business and have the full use of your senses to attend to it.
3. Another anxiety of a personal kind which is very natural, and indeed very proper if it be not carried to excess, is the care of your children. Mother, father, you have prayed for your children, you trust you have set them a holy example, you labour day by day to teach them the truth as it is in Jesus; it is well, now let your souls quietly expect the blessing, leave your offspring with God; cast your sons and daughters upon their father's God; let no impatience intrude if they are not converted in your time, and let, no distrust distract your mind if they should seem to belie your hopes.
4. But each Christian will in his time have personal troubles of a higher order, namely, spiritual cares. He is begotten again unto a lively hope, but he fears that his faith will yet die. As yet he has been victorious, but he trembles lest he should one day fall by the hand of the enemy. I beseech thee, cast this care upon God for He careth for you. Never let anxieties about sanctification destroy your confidence of justification. What if you be a sinner! Christ died to save sinners. What if you be undeserving! "In due time Christ died for the 'ungodly." Grace is free. The invitation is still open to you; rest the whole burden of your soul's salvation where it must rest.
5. There are many cares not of a personal but rather of an ecclesiastical character, which often insinuate themselves and plead for life, but which must nevertheless be put away. There are cares about how God's work is to be carried on. We may properly pray, "Lord, send labourers," and with equal propriety we may ask that He who has the silver and the gold may give them for His own work; but after that we must cast our care on God. Then, if we get over that, there will be another anxiety — one which frets me often enough — which is, the success of God's work. Husbandmen, your Great Employer sent you out to sow the seed, but if no grain of it should ever come up, if you sowed the seed as He told you, and where He told you, He will never lay the blame of a defective harvest to you. And sometimes there is another care, it is the care lest some little slip made by ourselves or others should give cause to the enemy to blaspheme. A careful jealousy is very well if it leads to caution, but very ill if it leads to a carking, weak anxiety,
III. THE SWEET INDUCEMENT TO LEAVE YOUR BURDEN: "He careth for you."
1. Believe in a universal providence, the Lord cares for ants and angels, for worms and for worlds; he cares for cherubim and for sparrows, for seraphim and for insects. Cast your care on Him, He that calleth the stars by their names, and leadeth them out by numbers, by their hosts. Let His universal providence cheer you.
2. Think next of His particular providence over all the saints. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him."
3. And then let the thought of His special love to you be the very essence of your comfort. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." God says that as much to you as He said it to any saint of old.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
WEB: Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."