Casting Our Cares Upon Christ
February 17th, 1974 @ 8:15 AM
CASTING OUR CARES UPON CHRIST
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 5:5-7
2-17-74 8:15 a.m.
On the radio we welcome you to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled Casting our Cares upon Christ. In our preaching through the Book of 1 Peter, we closed last Sunday with verse 4. We begin this Sunday in chapter 5 with verse 5, preaching through verse 7. “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility” [1 Peter 5:5].
Then he quotes a proverb out of Proverbs 3:34; a proverb which is quoted by James in the preceding book, in James 4:6: “For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” [1 Peter 5:5-7].
“For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” [1 Peter 5:5]. Pride, empty, soul-destroying pride is natural to the fallen man. It grows up like weeds in a watered garden. It flourishes like reeds on the side of a pond. It has a thousand lives. Kill it, and it will revive again. Bury it, and it will burst from the tomb. Soul-destroying self-aggrandizement, grasping pride will take a thousand shapes, and it will appear in the most unexpected places. And about the time you think you have captured it, it escapes your grasp and mocks your pursuit.
Pride is a God-defying sin! It will arraign God’s justice as did Cain. It will challenge God to combat as did Pharaoh. It will make itself into a veritable god, as happened in the life of Nebuchadnezzar. If I have any understanding of the Holy Scriptures at all, it is the great source, primeval source, of the fall of Satan himself [Ezekiel 28:17].
But most tragic of all, it will separate us from the favor of God. “God resisteth the proud” [1 Peter 5:5]. There’s a Greek word tassō which means “to arrange, to determine, to assign,” tassō. There is a negative, “antitassō,” which means “to arrange yourself against, to set yourself against.” It is a very strong word. It is that word here. “God antitassō, He sets Himself against, He arranges Himself against the proud; but God giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” [1 Peter 5:5-6].
What is that, to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God? [1 Peter 5:6]. I can think of four immediate things. Number one: for one to humble himself under God would be willingly, gladly, graciously, in the right way, proudly, to accept the humblest offices in the service of our Lord. It would be for a man with great honor to accept an assignment of being a doorkeeper in the household of faith, a great privilege to speak of Jesus to a little child, or maybe to wash the saints’ feet.
Those old-time primitive foot-washing Baptist people, I have watched them wash one another’s feet, and their tears fall into the pan of water as they wash each other’s feet. I wish I knew of some practice in the church like that. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [1 Peter 5:6], learning to do little things gracefully, that you might learn to do big things magnificently; learning to follow and to be obedient, that you might learn to rule when God exalts you.
You know, there’s a word used here that is found nowhere else in all the Bible. It’s a funny sounding word: egkomboomai, egkomboomai. And when you look at that word and look it up, because this is the only place it’s ever used, when you look it up––and you’d have to look it up in a lexicon; you haven’t come across that word anywhere else in all God’s Holy Scriptures—when you look it up, this is the meaning of the word: it means to put on, to bind on a slave’s garment. And that’s the word the apostle chooses to describe how we are to be under the hand of God. We’re to bind on ourselves a slave’s garment to wash feet, “in honor preferring one another, being subject one to another” [1 Peter 5:5].
What is this “humbling yourselves under the mighty hand of God”? [1 Peter 5:6]. Not only to accept with great pride a humble assignment such as a king being a doorkeeper, or a prince feeding lambs, or our blessed Savior washing feet [John 13:4-5]; not only that, but to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God would be to accept the disciplines of God with grateful appreciation. Not fighting against God, but accepting the limitations and the circumscriptions and sometimes the trials and sorrows that the Lord allows to overwhelm us; to receive them in gratitude and thanksgiving, to bend before the will of God as the reeds bend before the wind, to be yielded and surrendered to the will of God for us as the wax will take the stamp of the seal. Even as our Lord in Gethsemane kissed the rod that smote Him and prepared in prayer for harder strokes, thus to receive as from God’s hands the disciplines of life is to be blessed of God in your heart.
I read of a little crippled boy, running the best that he could down the sidewalk to catch a streetcar. “Wait up mister conductor. Wait up, wait up for me!” The conductor held the streetcar and kept the door open, and the little crippled boy climbed in and up and in, and sat down by a man there in the streetcar. The man heard the little fellow, “Wait up, mister conductor, wait,” and saw the little boy clamber in, and was pleased that the little crippled fellow sat down by his side.
And as the man looked at the boy, the lad was so bright and so happy, and the man looked at him in astonishment and said, “Son, you seem so bright and so happy, yet you’re so crippled. How are you so happy?” And the little fellow cheerfully and beautifully replied, “Oh, mister,” he said, “my father tells me that God always gives us what is best. And don’t you think I ought to be happy with what is best?”
He had a great father. To accept, and all of us have, the disciplines that come to us in life, we don’t escape. And to accept them as from God’s gracious hands is to be great. That is to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God [1 Peter 5:6].
What is it to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God? [1 Peter 5:6]. Not only willingly to accept the humblest office, not only to accept the disciplines of life in triumph and gratitude, but also to come to God in God’s way, not in our way, but in His choice, in God’s way. Maybe coming with overflowing amazement that we should be allowed to come at all; maybe coming in marvelous astonishment at His grace that reaches even to us [Romans 5:20; Ephesians 2:8]; maybe coming overwhelmed that God should have paid so great a price for our souls [1 Peter 1:18-19]; maybe coming in astonishment that He should choose me and invite me. It is coming in God’s way.
Not arguing with God about how I ought to be saved and how I ought to come before His presence, but receiving God in God’s way.
- If the Lord says, “Look” [John 3:14-15; Numbers 21:8-9], I will look.
- If God says, “Believe” [Acts 16:30-31], I will believe.
- If God says, “Trust” [John 14:1], I will trust.
- If God says, “Wash and be clean” [Revelation 7:14; 2 Kings 5:10-14], I will wash.
- If God says, “Confess Me openly” [Matthew 10:32], I will confess Him openly.
- If God says, “Be baptized” [Acts 2:38]. I will be baptized.
- If God says be a member of His household of faith and belong to His church, I’ll belong to His church [Galatians 6:10].
I will come to God in God’s way and not argue with Him. “Now, Lord, I want to come in my way”—no, I want to come in God’s way. This is what it is to humble ourselves under the hand of God.
What is it to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God? [1 Peter 5:6]. It would be to offer ourselves, to empty ourselves, that God might fill us and might bless us. God never filled a cup that was already full. Even God can’t do that. Nor can God pour His Spirit into our hearts if we are already full of ourselves. We have to empty ourselves of ourselves if God is to fill us. And if we do that and come before God with open hands, with hearts yielded, ready to be filled, God will pour upon us blessings such as we have never known.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God . . . casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” [1 Peter 5:6-7]. Had we done the previous verse, verse 6, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,” there are great many cares that we wouldn’t be seeking to cast upon the Lord. One verse preempts the other and obviates the other. There are some cares that we just ought not to have.
For example, there are some people who are never satisfied with their place in life. They are filled with insatiable desire for preferment. They are selfishly ambitious. They are everlastingly seeking to further themselves, and doing it for the most part climbing on others, trampling down others. So they’re never satisfied. They’re restive, unhappy in their hearts. They’re never satiated. It’s always wanting more and more. And that also applies in pecuniary, monetary, fiscal desires.
It is possible for a man to be eaten up with covetous desire. Money, things, and he’s never satisfied, and he’s never happy in what he has. He’s never content. These are the kinds of desires that we ought not to have. Such a desire as, “Oh, I need to know what tomorrow brings, for I’m filled with foreboding, and I can’t trust the hand of God. I’m worried. I’m full of anxiety,” living today for tomorrow, and tomorrow, and the morrow; always full of perturbation and dread and foreboding for what another day may bring; cares that we ought not to have.
And sometimes––and this is an astonishing thing in the lives of great men––sometimes, filled with burden and petulance and vexation over little things that happen, a great man can do mighty things and at the same time fall into the most distressful attitudes about little things in his life. Jonah: when the Lord spoke of a great revival––it’s the greatest the world ever knew––he chose Jonah. There never was such a revival as Jonah had.
Under the preaching of that prophet of God, when the Lord got through with him and prepared him, the whole city, from the king down to the most menial servant, repented [Jonah 3:2-10]. It was a mighty revival, and Jesus pointed out Jonah as being the example of the greatest revival preacher of all time; Jonah! [Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:32]. Now look at him: petulant, angry, he is pouting under a cucumber vine that withered; a worm cut down the gourd, and under a bower of melon leaves, he’s pouting and angry, and asked God to die [Jonah 4:5-9]. That’s the same Jonah.
I saw a man who had lost all of his property and did it in good grace, and that same man who lost all of his property got furiously angry over the loss of a button on his shirt at home, and his wife didn’t, you know; those are cares and anxieties and vexations we should never know.
Well, what are some of these cares that the Lord invites us to cast upon Him? “Casting all your care upon Christ; for He careth for you” [1 Peter 5:7]. Now I’m going to name some of them; spiritual cares, spiritual cares: “Lord, here I am in this pilgrimage. O God, what if my light were to go out? Lord, what if I were to fail of the gates of heaven? What if I yet were to fall into hell? Lord, Lord, how do I know that I’ll be saved?” Spiritual cares: “What’s going to become of me and my soul?” This is a care that I am to cast upon Christ.
In the first chapter of Philippians, by inspiration, Paul said, “He that hath begun a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” [Philippians 1:6], clear to the consummation of the coming of the Lord. In the last chapter of the Book of Hebrews, by inspiration the great author and encourager of the soul said and quoted from the Old Testament, “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” [Hebrews 13:5]. And in the tenth chapter of the Book of John, our own Savior said, “I give unto My sheep eternal life; and they shall never, ever perish” [John 10:28].
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
you who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
[from “How Firm a Foundation,” John Rippon]
That’s one care that’s not to burden my soul. When I’m saved, I’m saved forever, and I’ll make it; I’ll be there—Christ said so! And when the roll is called up yonder, I’ll answer, “Here, Lord, here.” He will see me through. He will take care of me. He will save my soul. I’ll be in heaven someday, as in His grace and goodness I’m in heaven now.
What are some of these cares he invites us to cast upon Christ? Kingdom cares. Kingdom cares. “Well, what do you mean by kingdom cares?” I mean something that frightens me to death in this day in which I live. What’s going to happen to the kingdom of our Lord in this earth in the hearts of men? It seems to me that the kingdom of darkness rides so high, so furiously. Oh, what you can see if you have eyes to see! The darkness presided over by the prince of the power of the air [Ephesians 2:2], taking whole nations into stated atheism, robbing all Christendom of its devotion to Christ and its attendance upon the worship of the Lord, the churches empty, and so many things that speak of decadence, decay.
What about the kingdom of Christ? And what about the work of our Lord in the earth? Kingdom cares: this is a care that I am to bring to Christ. “And the light shined in darkness, and the light was the life of men; it shined in darkness, even though the darkness comprehended it not” [John 1:5]; an astonishing thing to John. And you find that astonishment all through his writings.
“That light has come into the world, and men love darkness rather than the light” [John 3:19], that “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” [John 1:11]; “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” [John 1:5]; didn’t realize it—but that doesn’t mean that the light doesn’t shine.
Bless your heart. Some of the most brilliant beams that have ever fallen upon the darkness of this world have shined from the stakes where the martyrs have been burned to death. I am not to be full of care about God’s work in the earth. If the flame dies here, it’ll burn brightly over there. And if they lose the faith yonder, there’ll be revival over there. If the light goes out in northern Europe, it’ll start burning brightly in some of the nations in Africa. My part is to do my best for Jesus and leave the final harvest and result to Him. That’s one care I’m to cast upon Christ.
I was one day visiting with Mrs. Truett, the widow of the great pastor of the church, and to my great surprise I found that Dr. Truett sometime would be despondent because he felt that he had failed. And Mrs. Truett said to me, “I would talk to George, I’d talk to my husband, and I’d say to him, ‘My dear, when you have done your best, you’ve prayed your best, and you’ve been led to do this, and when you’ve done your best, then leave it to God.”
We may dig the well, but it is God who fills it with water. We can sow the seed, but it is God that makes it sprout. We can cultivate, but it is God who gives the harvest. I am to witness, and to testify, and then leave it to God, the soul that is converted. He does that. I do this. And that’s the care I’m to cast upon Christ; the kingdom care. What should become of His work and what should become of our witnessing in the earth? It is in God’s hands to bless it.
What are these cares that I am to cast upon Christ? I am to cast upon Christ my business cares, my life cares. A man never did a finer thing in all of his days than when he came up to God and said, “From this moment on, from now on henceforth, You are my Partner, and I am Your partner.” Oh, what a strength for a man to take in God as a partner in his work and in his business!
One time Queen Elizabeth I, way back yonder in the 1600s, one time Queen Elizabeth I called in a merchantman and asked him to go on a mission for her and for the state across the ocean. And the merchant prince said, “But Your Majesty, Your Majesty, I cannot do it! My business will fail, and while I am gone on this long mission I will go bankrupt! I cannot do it.”
And Queen Elizabeth said to the merchantman, she said, “Sir, you take care of my business, and while you’re gone I’ll take care of your business.” So the merchantman went across the sea on the long assignment for Queen Elizabeth. And when he came back, and when he came back, under the tutelage and the patronage and the sponsorship of the queen herself, his business had quadrupled and flourished! That’s God. That’s God. If you’ll take it to God and make your business God’s business, God will make your business His business.
I want to illustrate that from the Book. The Lord said to Simon Peter, “I want to borrow your boat to preach in; I need a pulpit. I want to borrow your boat.” Now, Simon Peter, with his partners, the sons of Zebedee, was in the fishing business. He was in the fishing business. And to make a living out of fishing, I’d say you’d have to stay with it all day and all night, and to me that’s really something; catching fish, it’s hard.
Simon Peter could have said to the Lord, “Lord, Lord, You want to take my boat? Master, this is the only thing I have to fish with. I need this boat, and I’m hard at fishing. That’s my business. You can’t have this boat; I need this!”
No, he was delighted. And the Lord took his boat, took it out of the fishing business. For while God was using it, and while Jesus was preaching out of it to the people, then when the sermon was done, the Lord said to Simon, “Now Simon, you row your boat out there and let down your nets” [Luke 5:1-7]. And Simon Peter rowed his boat out there where Jesus said, and let down the net, and he caught more fish in ten minutes than he had caught in the previous ten months of his life.
Do you believe that? Does that sound reasonable to you when you read that in the Bible? You let God work with you, make a partner out of Him, take it to Jesus, and you see if you don’t prosper as you never prospered in your life. You’re not worried. You’re not full of cankerous care and concern. But this is God’s business, casting all your care upon Him [1 Peter 5:7].
I have a moment more. Our family cares; I haven’t time to expatiate upon it. Family cares. There around the house where you are and where you live, do you often think, “I wonder if God knows me? Does God know my name? Does God know what I’m doing? Does God see me?” According to the Book, He cares for the little and the great just the same; for ants and for angels, for worms and for worlds, for cherubim and for sparrows, for battalions of heavenly hosts and for butterflies. He cares for all of us, and He cares for you. And He knows you, and He knows where you live, and He calls your name [John 10:3], and if you’ll take the cares of your life to Him, He will see you through.
Now, this says it. This is a mother who’s talking about the coming of Jesus:
“The Master has come over Jordan,”
Said Sarah the mother one day;
“He is healing the people who throng Him
With a touch of His hand, they say.
And now I shall carry the children,
Little Rachel, and Samuel, and John,
I shall carry the baby Esther,
For the Lord to look upon.”
The husband looked at her kindly
As he shook his head and smiled,
“Now, who but a doting mother
Would think of a thing so wild?
If the children were tortured by demons,
Or dying of fever, ‘twere well,
Or had they the taint of the leper,
Like many in Israel.”
But the mother said, “Nay, do not hinder me, Nathan.
I feel such a burden of care.
If I carry it to the Master,
I know I can leave it there.
If He lay His hand on the children,
My heart will be lighter, I know;
For a blessing forever and ever
Will follow them as they go.”
So over the hills of Judah,
Along by the vine rows green,
With Esther asleep on her bosom,
And Rachel her brothers between,
Among the people who hung on His teaching,
Awaited His touch and His word,
Through the row of proud Pharisees listening,
She pressed to the feet of the Lord.
“Now why shouldst thou hinder the Master,”
Said Peter, “with children like these?
Seest not how from morning till evening
He teacheth and healeth disease?
Away!” said Peter; then Christ said, “Forbid not the children.
Permit them to come unto Me!”
And He took in His arms little Esther,
And Rachel He sat on his knee:
And the heavy heart of the mother
Was lifted all earth-care above,
As He laid His hand on the brothers,
And blest them with tenderest love;
And He said of the babes in His bosom,
“Of such are the kingdom of heaven”—
And strength for all duty and trial
That hour to the mother was given.
[“Christ and the Little Ones,” Julia Gill]
“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” [1 Peter 5:7].
Isn’t that a blessedness? My work, my business, my daily bread, my house and my home and my children, my soul and my life, my destiny, and my forever tomorrows, all I can bring to the blessed Jesus, and He will remember me. There is nothing as sweet and as dear, nothing, as coming in humble submissive yieldedness to the sweet and gentle Jesus, our God and our Savior.
Would you do that today, this morning, this hour? In a moment we stand to sing our appeal, and while we sing it, a family you, a couple you, or just one somebody you, “Today, pastor, I take the Lord as my Savior. I open my heart to Him, and I’m coming to Christ,” or “I’m putting my life into the fellowship of this dear church.” That’s why the invitation. Somebody sent word to me this week: “Explain what you mean when you give that invitation.” This is what I mean: it’s a twofold invitation, always. One: will you ask God to come into your heart and to live in your heart? “Sins, God, forgive me; my soul, God, save me; and I trust Thee for it, Lord”—coming to Jesus [Matthew 11:28]. The other invitation: “I am saved. I’ve been baptized. I belong to the church. My letter, my membership is in some other place, but God has led me here, and I am coming to put my life with you.” Maybe a third invitation: if God were to whisper any word of consecration or recommitment, you come, and we’ll pray together and tell God we’re giving our lives in a new way to Him. As the Spirit shall press the appeal to your heart, make it now, do it now. On the first note of this first stanza, come, while we stand and while we sing.