Sermon 1692. "Without Carefulness"
DELIVERED AT THE THURSDAY EVENING LECTURE,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"I would have you without carefulness." 1 Corinthians 7:32.
AT the time when Paul wrote these words he was giving judgment as to whether it was expedient for Christians in those daysto marry. The question was whether they were likely to be better Christians married or unmarried. This was a question of muchdelicacy and Paul answered it with remarkable discretion and fidelity. And, in so doing, he laid down a great general principlewhich is of much more value to the Church, today, than Paul's private opinion about the matter of marriage or non-marriage.Paul tells us that concerning virgins, he had no commandment of the Lord, but gave his judgment as one that had obtained mercyof the Lord to be faithful-he did not speak, in this case, as under Divine Inspiration, but as an experienced and consecratedman giving his judgment for the good of others-and for the benefit of the great work so dear to him.
In that capacity, Paul's words are, by no means, to be despised. I had far rather follow the uninspired advice of Paul thanthat of any other man. In mental clearness none ever excelled that consecrated man. But he spoke under Inspiration, beyondall question, when he gave this as his reason for desiring that they would remain unmarried-"I would have you without carefulness,"or as the Revised Version reads it, "I would have you to be free from cares." This is the mind of the Holy Spirit as wellas the mind of the Apostle Paul. This is a text, not for Paul's time, alone, but for our time and for all time.
The general principle in our text I will endeavor to open up before you. We who have believed are the servants of Christ andare no longer at our own disposal. We are not our own, for we are bought with a price. If you look back in the chapter, atthe 23rd verse, you find a statement to that effect. Hence our business in life is to serve Him who has redeemed us. Thisone occupation should entirely absorb and engross us. Everything, therefore, which helps us better serve the Lord Jesus isa good thing-and everything which hampers and hinders us in the main business of our life, though it may be good enough forothers, is bad for us. The chief work of the Christian is to glorify God and, to this chief work everything must be subordinated.If a thing is lawful to me, and yet, while lawful, it hinders me in the service of God, it is not expedient and, therefore,I am to renounce it.
No man ever succeeds in anything who does not give himself wholly to it-it matters not what it is-concentration is essentialto perfection in any pursuit. He who would be eminent in any one direction must forego a great many other things which areperfectly allowable. These he must renounce for the sake of his one objective. He will not succeed unless he sacrifices allother things for the one chief thing. So must it be with the Christian. The rule of his life is to be, "This I will not do,this I will not enjoy, this I will not allow for myself because I could not serve God as well with it, and my business isto keep myself in the best possible form for doing my Master's work." We are to labor as much as we can for our Lord and allother results of life must be to us as chaff to the wheat.
It is with us, Paul tells us, as with a soldier. A soldier is a man who must not open shop, or become a banker or a farmer.He must not think of settling quietly in the town where, for a while, he is billeted. Why not? The reason is clear-even ifthere is no war at the present time, yet no man that wars, entangles himself with the things of this life if he would pleasehim who has called him to be a soldier. Soldiering requires the man to be altogether a soldier and it cannot afford to lethim be a tradesman or a farmer-he must not hamper himself with that which would hold him to the spot and prevent his hasteningto the field. The nation requires that its army be ready for any and every emergency, so that when the trumpet blows, theregiment marches, the troopship steams across the sea, and the foe is promptly confronted. It is necessary that the soldierkeep himself in marching condition and the less luggage he has to carry, the better.
So it is with the Christian-he is to aim at a condition best adapted for his holy warfare. He is not to be satisfied whenhe has said to himself, "Is this right, or is this wrong?" He is to go further. I hope that many of us have long passed beyondthat stage, for we have a judgment and discernment which tell us at once what is right and what is wrong-we now ask a stillhigher question-"Will this help me to glorify God, or will it not?" This is the enquiry of the higher life and a godly manis careful in the answering of it. The best thing is bad if it hinders our vocation. Though the garment were made of silk,bespangled with jewels and made with golden thread, yet must we, as racers, lay it aside if it would entangle us in our running.
Though the burden were a bag of pearls and every pearl were a king's ransom, yet if we are to run-and none can win but thosethat run-we must leave that bag of pearls in another's keeping, for our business is with the crown before us! We must layaside every weight and the vesture of sin which does so easily entangle us, that we may run with patience the race that isset before us. At this time the Apostle says to us-"I would have you without carefulness as to earthly things," and this becausehe would have us full of carefulness as to heavenly things! He wants us to be free from cares, that all our thought, anxiety,meditation, suggestiveness, inventiveness and burden-bearing may go towards the service of our Divine Lord. We have only acertain measure of mind and he wants all of it for the Lord Jesus, that we may walk worthy of our high calling.
But towards other things, he says, "I would have you without carefulness." How are we to be without carefulness? This mustbe the work of the Holy Spirit, for He is the Comforter and the Helper of our infirmities, But as far as we are to work withHim, the question needs a careful reply. How are we to be without carefulness?
I. I answer-we may hopefully attempt this in the power of God, first, BY AVOIDING THOSE STATES WHICH INVOLVE CAREFULNESS.Mark well, it is not given to many to select their place in life. More or less it may be committed to us to turn to the rightor to the left on certain occasions, but men and women are thrown into certain conditions in which it may be their duty toabide in their calling, though it may surround them with special difficulties. That calling may be one which, ordinarily,involves a vast amount of care and anxious thought and yet they cannot get out of it. They ought not to leap the hedge whichthe Lord has placed along their way, for if they do, they may fall into a ditch on the other side, muddy their garments, andso make matters worse. By crying to God for help and trusting in His sure Word, they will be able to bear the burden whichGod has put upon them and, it is their wisdom to do so.
Yet there are points in which we are allowed a choice about the state in which we would place ourselves and here our textcomes in as a rule of action. Paul, in the case before us, is talking about the marriage of Christians and he bids Christians,in the first place, not to marry, for, he says, "I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried cares for thethings that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he that is married cares for the things that are of the world,how he may please his wife."
Now, observe the condition of affairs which led Paul to give this advice. Times of great persecution were present. Christianswere continually being dragged into court or set before the lions in the amphitheatre, or shut up in prison, or put to crueldeaths-in such circumstances few would desire to have families about them. The Christian man who had no wife or child couldflee in a moment if it were right to flee. Or, when he stood before the bar of Nero, he had not to think within himself, "IfI die, I leave a wife and fatherless children." When the single man put on his hat, he housed all his family, and thus hecould move this way or that way to preach the Gospel, or to escape from persecution-and his moving was no great affair suchas would be involved in transporting a family from land to land.
Paul wished the Church to be like an army which is not encumbered with baggage. The circumstances of the time demanded thatthey should be unencumbered, like troops upon forced marches. Paul, himself, carried all his property in a little bit of canvas-itconsisted of half a dozen needles and a reel of thread, with which he made tents wherever he went. He was thus without carefulness.In those hard and desperate times, it was the best possible thing that a man could do, or a woman, to remain single-they werethus in the best condition for flight, or suffering, or service, or death. It was not a time in which they could settle downand engage in trade or agriculture and Paul, therefore, gives, as a recommendation, that they had better not then be married.
If we get into such times, again, we will give the same advice, but we are not certain that we should speak thus, today, asa general rule. The circumstances are decidedly different and we are to follow the great principle rather than the particularinstance. I have known Brothers who, I am sure, had a great deal more care before they were married than ever
they had afterwards. Poor things that they were, they needed somebody to look after them! I have known cases in which womenhave had great care and burden in their single state, but have found rest in the house of a husband and, it has been uponthe whole, the best for them in the truest sense. They served God better and were freer from carefulness in the married state.That is the rule to judge by.
But numbers of you never judge at all in this way! Many men and women rush into marriage when they know that it must involvethem in all sorts of care and trouble-and deprive them of the possibility of doing anything in the Master's service. It isnot for me to offer advice, for it is useless. I am often asked for advice, but I generally find that people have made uptheir minds long before they come to their minister! They only want him to sanction what they have already settled and, therefore,I very seldom give any advice. Still, I shall lay down the general principle which every Christian man and woman must accept-"Iwould have you to be free from cares," You are to put this to the front, that you are not your own, you are bought with aprice.
And about this matter of marriage, as well as everything else, you are to consult the will of your Lord and Master, and youare to put this as the question, "Shall I glorify God better married or unmarried? May I hope that I shall not so greatlyincrease my carefulness as to distract myself from serving my Lord? There is something to be said on each side, but may Ihope that the balance may be struck so that I shall really be the better servant of Christ in the marriage state? If so, Imay enter upon it, but if not, I am not to gratify myself at my Savior's expense. I may not marry if I should, then, ceaseto be as good a servant of Christ as I am now." None of you are too good servants of Christ-I have never met with any thatwere! We cannot afford to lose anything which we already have, for we are not even, now, all that we ought to be. No, we mustgive ourselves whole-heartedly to Christ and remember the admonition of the text, "I would have you without carefulness."
We have got over that somewhat difficult part of our road which is concerned with marriage. We come to another which is veryplain, but needs to be spoken of, namely, the matter of increased worldly business. Some forget this advice of the Apostlealtogether. Regarding it as a check upon enterprise, such persons take up a number of businesses and, consequently, increasetheir cares indefinitely! Now, if you can serve God better by having a dozen shops, have a dozen. But I have known personswhom God blessed in one shop and they lost the blessing when they felt they needed to open two or three. In a moderate business,they obtained a livelihood and all that they could need-and they were able to get out to the House of God and to have sparehours for the service of God in the Sunday school, in preaching, or other forms of Christian service. Thus they were in anenviable position for usefulness and ought to have been pillars in the house of the Lord.
But they were not content with so favored a state! Nothing would do for them but they must have shop number two, three, fourand then, of course, they were too busy to go out on week evenings, to lectures, classes, or Prayer Meetings. When invitedto take their part in the Lord's work, they replied-"You see, I cannot get out. You must excuse me, I am so tired." Just so.Of course you must look after business, now that you are so immersed in it, but how did you come to get into such a stateof bondage that you cannot get out to the worship or service of God? Is not your excessive toil your own fault? If you havebrought yourself into such a condition that you cannot give to God His due, is it an excuse for your not being able to doit? The disability is entirely of your own creation-how can it excuse you?
If this were the time, I could mention persons who were members of this Church whose departure from the way of righteousnesswas owing to a grasping spirit-and that grasping spirit has, in certain cases, led to a foolish rush after riches which hasended in poverty and discredit! They had as much as they could have managed, but they wanted more, and more, and more-andto get more they ventured upon ways and methods which were questionable. By-and-by, the means of Grace were neglected becausethey must attend to business. Very soon, for the same reason, they could not get up on Sunday morning, they were so tired-theydid not get the shop shut till twelve-and then there was clearing up till half-past one, so they could not get out on a Sundaymorning.
Worse than that, after a while they just looked over the ledger a little on Sunday afternoon. Soon the very vitals of godlinesswere gone and, not long after that, the name to live went, also-for the power of godliness had entirely departed from them."I would have you without carefulness" and, therefore, to the most enterprising Brother, I would say-Brother, do not fillyour pocket at the expense of your soul! Do what is best for the best part of yourself and that best part of yourself is thesoul which deals with God and eternity! God can prosper you and make you exceedingly happy
with a more manageable business and He can make you miserable if you willfully increase your cares. The Lord Jesus said, "Aman's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses."
Therefore, as I would have you without carefulness, look well, my dear Friend, before you launch out into that new business,or take that off-hand farm, or enter upon that speculative operation. Do not wade into risks so deep that you will be drownedin anxiety! Remember how Napoleon tried to do too much, and did it, and did for himself. Men of large capacity may rule anempire and yet serve the Lord admirably, but the most of us had better be satisfied with a smaller sphere. At any rate, letus not heap up such a load of our own that we shall not be able to bear the burden which our Master would have us carry forHis love's sake.
Do not look so cross, good Friend, or I shall think that my advice is more necessary to you than it is pleasing! The day maycome when this warning will be better understood by you than at this moment. Some Christian men need to have a touch on theelbow about public engagements. For my part, I believe that everything which concerns a man concerns a Christian, and thatGod never wished His servants to leave the government of this realm to all the place-hunters and unprincipled self-seekerswho look for a seat in Parliament. Christian men ought to see to it that right is promoted and justice done. To abandon Law-makingto the worst of men would be infamous! So with everything which concerns the public welfare, I believe that we are to turnthe scale for truth and righteousness, and are not to let the devil have his way and give robbery and oppression the run ofall the parishes in England.
But there is a limit to a man's acceptance of public office and let that limit be watched carefully by all the Lord's children.Let the rule be-first our God and then our fellow men. What if I am a patriot, yet first of all the New Jerusalem is the placeof my citizenship! I am a pilgrim and a stranger-and even though I seek the good of these aliens among whom I dwell, I muststill keep my eye upon my own native country, towards which I am speeding. A man must not be doing 20 things in public lifeand neglecting the calls of the Lord Christ. If he does this, he will have care upon care, and will weary and trouble himselfwith things of no profit-and he will not care for the things of God as he should. Brothers and Sisters, "I would have youwithout carefulness"-you are the servants of God-do not make yourselves the slaves of men!
Here I wish to say another word to some whose occupations prevent their attendance at the House of God. I am not going tocensure or judge any, but I will say this-whenever I hear of a young man who has an occupation with a moderate salary, whois able to get out to worship and has the whole Lord's-Day to himself, so that he can help in the Sunday school and, perhaps,in some week-evening engagements-if I hear that he is offered twice as much money in a place where he must be shut out fromworship and service, I hope he will look long before he makes the bargain. If part of the Sabbath must go and all week-nightprivileges must go, I would, in most cases, say, "My Brother, forego the temporal advantage for the sake of the spiritual."There may be exceptions to rules and I lay down nothing as a hard-and-fast rule, but still, let this be the general guidein such matters-"I would have you without carefulness."
If it is so that he who has less, has less care, let me have less! He who has a moderate income, with small responsibility,is a richer man than he who has twice as much, with twice as much responsibility-and only half as much opportunity of servinghis God. For you, Christians, the best place you can have is where you can do most for Jesus-and the worst place you can haveis where you are denied Christian privileges. No amount of salary can make up to you the disadvantage of being kept from theassemblies of the saints, or can make up to your soul the loss sustained by excessive labor in the house of bondage. "I wouldhave you without carefulness."
This bears very hard upon all those forms of speculation of which some men are so fond. A man says, "I believe that I canget rich in a hurry by a certain venture." Do not touch it! You will have no end of care and it may bring absolute povertyupon you. You have heard of the man who hurried to be rich and was not innocent. I am afraid that few are long innocent whohasten to be rich! They clutch at everything on a sudden and they are apt to include in that clutch a few things which donot belong to them! What devouring care must prey upon those whose trade is as risky as a throw of the dice? When businessis mere gambling, it ceases to be legitimate! Let speculators take heed of those dangers which necessarily attend all gamesof chance. I believe that every form of gambling, though it may take a business shape, tends more, or less, to harden theheart.
As for the naked form of play which risks upon the roll of a ball, it is murder to all the finer feelings of the heart! Nobodybut gamblers could have cast the dice, all blood bespattered, at the foot of the Cross of our Redeemer! Gambling
brings men into a state of heart worse than almost any other form of sin. When a man is willing to risk practically his allon the mere toss of a halfpenny whether goods shall go up or down, he is usually a bad man. And if he is not, he will be sobefore long, for that kind of thing does serious mischief to the most tender tissues of the heart. If any Christian man attemptsit, what a state of mind will he soon know! Can he pray? Can he meditate? Can he commune with the Lord Jesus? Can he be withoutcarefulness? Where can his trust be? Where his faith in God? When he has practically committed his fortunes to the devil,how can he confide in his God?
Gambling and prayer can never go together except in the case of the reprobate-I suppose they are profane enough to unite thetwo-but therein they blaspheme Heaven most detestably! Brothers and Sisters, abstain from those things which inevitably createundue excitement, anxiety and suspense. I speak as unto wise men-judge you what I say-I would have you without carefulnessand, therefore, I would have you avoid those states which involve it.
I. Secondly, BY KEEPING AWAY FROM THOSE OBJECTS OF PURSUIT WHICH WOULD NATURALLY FOSTER IT, I would have you without carefulness.When a man makes the gaining of riches the first thing in life, he cannot be without carefulness. Where his treasure is, therewill his heart be, also. There is the carefulness to get, the carefulness to hold, the carefulness to place out at interest,the carefulness to collect dues and so forth. Yes, and this may be the case, even, with poor people who may be as full ofgreedy care as the millionaire! Thrift is commendable, but covetous-ness is detestable. Men not only lay by for a rainy day,which is well-but when they make saving the main object of their lean and hungry lives-God's Glory and man's needs are, alike,forgotten.
Now, if you live for anything but God-especially if you live to hoard up with the determination that somehow or other youwill be immensely rich-you must be full of carefulness. It cannot be helped. Suppose that you are of a nobler spirit and youlive with the view of gaining honor among men-you will, with equal certainty, be full of cares. I hope you will not say, "Imust be honored. I must have my neighbors think well of me and I will make a slave, or a fool, or a hypocrite of myself toplease them." This resolve is detestable and if you go into that line you will not be without carefulness, I can tell you-andwith all your carefulness you will never succeed. To please everybody is as impossible as to make ice and bake bread at thesame moment in one oven. Give up the wretched attempt!
Be a man and be not a mere man-pleaser. How blessedly easy I feel in my work for God! But I owe that ease to the fact thatI have no one to please but my Lord. When I preach, the last thing that ever occurs to me is to ask myself whether any ofyou will like it or not. It is no wish of mine to give offense, but it has never occurred to me to think whether you willbe offended or not. I do not think you would respect me if I made my preaching an occasion for seeking to please you. If itpleases God, it will please you, if you are right-and if you are wrong and it does not please you- well, it never ought toplease you!
This enables a preacher to give all his mind to his subject. The opposite feeling would distract him and make him live thelife of a toad under a harrow. Go into life in just that kind of spirit-do everything to please your fellow man if it willdo him real good. Never be ungenerous, nor unkind, nor uncourteous, but never live to please the world. No slave is so slavishas the wretch who draws his breath from other people's nostrils and can only live if he is approved by his neighbors. Scornsuch servitude! I would have you without carefulness and you cannot be without carefulness if you only seek to please men.Many persons are so ambitious to be respectable that they never will be without carefulness-they have a pound coming in butthey spend a guinea to be respectable-and so they cannot be without carefulness. I charge you do not care about being whatis known in the world as "respectable." Be Christians, whether people respect you or not!
That littleness which stamps out everything that is good or brave in order to put a man into the fashion is to be the objectof our supreme contempt! Do right. Serve God. Live for Heaven. Care little about man's esteem. Abhor the pride of life. Liveabove the world, or you will be eaten up with carefulness-it cannot be helped. Some persons have a favorite objective in life-notGod, but an earthly thing-and these cannot be without carefulness. Dear mother, love your children by all manner of means,but if that little one has become an idol, I am sure you cannot be without carefulness! I have known mothers kill their childrenbecause they did not want them to die. That is to say, they never let the wind blow on them-they kept them in a box, screenedthe blessed air of Heaven from them-and so brought them up that they became weak and sickly, thanks to their mothers' indulgentcare. Lots of children have suffered a martyrdom from too much nursing! Excessive carefulness has created cause for care.
If it is not a child, if it is anything else that becomes the pet and hobby of life, you will soon find that you have plentyof care about it-a horse, a dog, a flower, a painting may entangle men and women in nets of care. I have seen it and lamentedit. The more objects you set your heart upon, the more thorns there are to tear your peace of mind into shreds. I know peoplewho dread every puff of wind and every shower of rain because a yacht might be tossed about, or a garden-party spoiled-suchtrifles may sensible people be troubled about! "What are we to do, then?" asks one. Why, live for God! Live wholly for God!Put everything else into its true place. Children, business, every favorite pursuit-leave them in the hands of God-for untilyou do this, you will be cankered with carefulness of one kind or another and be incapacitated for the joyful service of theLord your God!
Thus have I given you two helpful rules-first, avoid the states which involve carefulness. And secondly, avoid the pursuitswhich involve carefulness. May the Spirit of God help you to carry them out.
III. But now, thirdly, and better still, I would have you without carefulness BY EXERCISING A CHILD-LIKE FAITH IN THE EVER-BLESSEDGOD. He sends you troubles and trials, but be without carefulness, first, by never trying to anticipate them. Never meet themhalf-way. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Oh, the strength it gives a man when he learns to pray, "Give usthis day our daily bread"! It would be a poor prayer if a man should cry, "Lord, give me a guarantee of my bread for six months."No, no! The Lord never taught us to ask for that! That forestalling of the demands of the future finds no petition writtenfor it. Our Lord would have us cultivate the feeling that whatever the necessity of the day, whatever the requirement of theday, whatever the trial of the day, we shall take it to God as it comes and He will, then and there, meet the case. Commityour way unto the Lord and then be without carefulness.
I will now tell you something still better. If you can manage to live by the five minutes, that is better than living by theday. I am not, tonight, at 20 minutes past eight o'clock, allowed to fret myself about what is likely to happen at ten! Ihave Grace at this time for the present moment, but not for 10 o'clock. Why, therefore, should I hurry towards a trouble forwhich I am not yet prepared? Leave 10 o'clock worries till 10 o'clock comes! The hour that brings the trial will bring thestrength! The hour that tests you, will find God ready at your hand to help you! Live by the day-yes, live by the hour.
The next thing is, if you would be without carefulness, be quite content with the Lord's will. Suppose you do not prosperin business as you would like? Be content not to do so. Do your best and leave your prospering in the hands of God. Supposethat after consulting a physician you find that your complaint is not removed? Duly follow all right and wise prescriptionsand directions-and then leave your health with God. With regard to those you love, when you have prayed for their restorationand they are not restored, then still say, "Not as I will, but as You will." If you cannot suit your purse to your wishes,bring your wishes to your purse! Higher still, if God does not give you all your desires, do the other thing-submit all yourdesires to God! When your desires and God's decrees agree, all will be well! Whether God gives you your wish, or you giveup your wish, will make no notable difference. You will be equally happy so long as your will is God's will and God's willis your will.
And I believe-and I speak experimentally-that when you are racked with pain, if God teaches you to submit, (and it is oftena hard lesson), you can suffer in every limb and yet sing in your inmost soul! This is the way to live without carefulness-first,not to meet trouble before it comes and, next, when it does come-to be content, saying, "It is the Lord: let Him do what seemsgood to Him." The next thing is to be quite sure about the love of God. He cannot make a mistake and He cannot fail His people.If the worst thing, as it seems to us, should happen, it must be the right thing because God has sent it! Be sure, also, thatwhen our needs come, God's supplies will come, too. The Lord is bound by His own promise to provide for all the real necessitiesof those who trust in Him. Oh, that we did thoroughly know God and did fully believe in Him! Then would our peace be as ariver, and our joy like that of birds when the sun is rising. Then should we sing-
"I have no cares,
For all my cares are Thine!
1 live in triumph, too, for You Have made Your triumphs mine!"
Another sweet thing would help us to be without care and that is to believe fully in the power of prayer-and in the fact thatGod does actually answer it. God will grant His children's desires and answer their prayers! We constantly meet with instancesin which God does most manifestly come to the help of those that walk before Him aright. I personally met this week with anotable case. A dear Sister is left a widow, with three children. She wonders what she shall do for the morning's bread. Thereis none in the house. She thinks to herself that she formerly kept shop and that she has a few goods left, a little stainedand soiled, but still saleable at a price. She goes into her room and prays God, in her agony of soul, to direct her to acustomer. To her delight a person asks her whether she kept shop, once, at such-and-such a road.
Yes, she is the individual. Such goods as she used to buy at the shop, this stranger cannot get anywhere else, and she muchneeds them. Could she tell her where she could get the like? Yes, these are the very goods that she had hoped to sell and,though a little soiled and stained, the enquirer is glad to have them! The very person who wants them has come to buy thembefore she has crossed the threshold to seek a customer and she is amazed at the goodness of the Lord! This honest woman istold that it was a mere coincidence-she says that she knows nothing about coincidences, but she blesses the Lord that herneeds were supplied for the time-and she means to trust Him for the future! I did not attempt to alter her resolution to rely,in the future, upon God in time of trouble-on the contrary, I cheered her in it, for I would have her without carefulness.
When my grandfather was a young man, before my days, he had a great family and a small income. He had a cow that he kept forhis children and he went to fetch it up from the meadow. But when it was near the house, it was taken with "the staggers,"and died. My grandmother said, "There, James, what shall we do, now, through the winter without the cow?" He replied, "Mydear, God has provided for us and He always will, though I do not know how." And with a heavy heart he went to pray and layhis trouble before the Lord. I have heard the dear old man tell how that morning brought a post-letter, with nine pence topay-and Grandmother said, "Troubles never come alone. Here is nine pence to pay for this letter. Shall we take it in?" Butwhen she did take it in, it brought 20 pounds from a society in London, to which the good man had never applied! He couldnot make out how they knew of him at all! But the Lord knew and led them to send the money on the day of Grandfather's greatestneed!
These stories are a few out of many that are in my wallet-instances which I have gathered in my pilgrimage. I have seen enough,in my own lifetime, to fill a volume concerning the goodness of the Lord in answer to His children's prayers. When you areas sure that God answers prayer as I am sure of it, then you will realize the meaning of the text, "I would have you withoutcarefulness." Some people of my acquaintance are full of carefulness. I know a maiden lady who possesses what many poor peoplewould think to be wealth. She has a fixed, regular and ample income, but she will not spend it because she must first savea certain sum. At first her ambition was to have enough in hand to bury her. Why, she has enough already to bury 20 of her,but she keeps on nipping and scraping, still, and whenever you meet her she talks of how little she eats, and how dear everythingis!
She might live in plenty and have something for the cause of God, but instead of that, she has always an awful story abouther expenses. I believe that if she were made into the Empress of China, she would be afraid that there would not be enoughtea grown in China for her to drink! She is of such a spirit that she is a burden to herself and a plague to all who are abouther! When you once give way to grumbling and grasping, then you are careful, and careful, and careful till you become good-for-nothingin the service of God. Do, I pray you, Brothers and Sisters, try to get rid of this disease, for your fretful carefulnesswill make you a misery to yourself and to your friends! It will destroy your power to do good and it will cut off your communionwith God!
If you do not trust God, God will not walk with you. I do not care to have a man of my acquaintance who does not believe inme. I cannot bear him if he is always mistrusting me. And so it is with God-He will not commune with you or smile upon youif you will not trust Him-but if you will leave everything with Him and believe that your heavenly Father knows best, youshall have many a kind word from His lips, and you shall find what a good, gracious, loving Father He is. Why, you and I oughtto be as happy as the birds of the air and as merry as crickets on the hearth! Just think what a God we have, who will takecare of us both in this life and in the life to come! All things are ours-the gifts of God- the purchase of a Savior's love!
Even our troubles are the best troubles in the world! Our cross is a heavy one, but it is the best cross for us. Each manhas the cross which best fits him. You could not carry mine and I could not carry yours half as well as my own. Despite
your peculiar trials, you are a happy and a favored man, and God has dealt infinitely better with you than you ever deservedor could have expected! Praise Him, then, and bless His name! Get out of the fidgets, Brother, if you can. Get out of theworries, my dear Sister. You are a good, dear housewife, and your husband says if he could get a little of the Mary into you,and a little of the Martha out of you, you would be a perfect wife! Is not this a practical suggestion? Let us see whetherwe cannot, each one, be improved by trying to be without carefulness. Let us, each one, give all our thought and care to thisone object-How can I please God? How can I avoid sin? How can I be holy? How can I win sinners to Christ? How can I comfortmy fellow Christians? How, in a word, can I live as Christ would have lived?
You never find Jesus worrying. If He weeps, it is for the souls of men. If He suffers, it is to redeem men from going downto the Pit. And if He dies of a broken heart, it is a broken heart about the sins of others. As for Himself, what a deliciouscarelessness of holy confidence there was about Him! He went on board ship and He knew that a storm would come, a storm thatwould try the poor little boat, but He lay down and slept! The disciples are all in a worry. They cry, "Master, we perish!"And where was their Master? Asleep! You have often thought of the sleep of the Savior and almost deemed Him negligent. Now,think of the grand confidence of the Savior in being able to sleep in a storm! If His disciples had been asleep, too, it wouldhave been the best thing they could have done, for they could not manage the winds or the waves. If they had possessed themoral dignity which ennobled their Lord and had been able to go down into the back part of the boat and to go to sleep withHim, they would have woke up in the morning in a calm.
The best thing you, my dear Brothers and Sisters, can do in a great trouble may be to remember that text, "He gives His belovedsleep." Pray over your difficulty and then go to sleep-and wake up and find it all over-for the Lord has worked a great deliverancefor you. I knew one, well, who was always in trouble about how he should die. Dear good man, he refused to be comforted, butwas often troubled about the horrors of the departing hour-until one night he went to bed, shut his eyes on earth-and openedthem in Glory! He never knew that he was away from earth till he knew that he was in Heaven, for he died in his sleep! Andso it turned out that he had been worrying himself about nothing! Leave everything with God. If I can trust my soul with Him,I am sure I can trust my body with Him! If I can trust my eternal condition with Him, can't I trust Him with a matter of afive-pound note?
What? Rest on Christ for Glory, and not rest on Christ for bread! Come, come! The Lord get you out of that low, unbelievingstate! I am nearly at the close and so I press upon you my text. Like Paul, "I would have you without carefulness." May yoube so, through the power of the gracious God who taught the Apostle Peter to say in the Spirit, "Casting all your care uponHim, for He cares for you." Amen.