While Scripture calls us to be full of “good” care, it also calls us to be without “bad” care.
The Greek noun “care” (merimna) comes from the verb merizo which means “to divide.”
The Greek verb merimnao is translated in the KJV as “take thought” (11 times), “care” (5), “be careful” (2), and “have care” (1.)
To have “care” is to be mindful, focused, preoccupied or distracted with something (either in a good or bad way.)
A good care involves a steady focus on something of value.
A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:12)
Good care is our focused concern on what God wants us to value.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:28)
The concerns of men do not always mirror the concerns of God.
And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (Luke 21:5,6)
It is indeed rare to find anyone who truly cares for our soul.
I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. (Psalm 142:4)
cared > Hebrew – darash > seek, enquire
Multitudes perish because of a failure to care for souls.
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. (Ezekiel 34:2-6)
Failure to show proper care provokes anger, disloyalty and rebellion.
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. (2 Chronicles 10:12-14)
And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents. (2 Chronicles 10:16)
Our care for others is shown by how we treat them.
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)
Some show more care for animals than humans beings.
And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? (Luke 13:14-16)
Certain relationships carry a “built in” care.
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:34)
The ostrich is a witness of the “careless” and calloused person who has lost sensitivity even to those she should care for.
Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. (Job 39:13-17)
Christlike care is demonstrated through sacrificial love.
But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:12-15)
God is able to put “earnest care” in our hearts for another.
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. (2 Corinthians 8:16)
We are not to wait for God to impart care into our hearts. We must “let” the caring attitude of Jesus work in and through us.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:4,5)
Genuine care requires purposeful focusing on the “things” of another.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:3)
If we are to have a genuine, Christlike care for others we must be mindful of their state and concerns instead of just our own.
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. (Philippians 2:19-21)
God sends unexpected tests to determine whether we will walk in the Spirit of Christ, showing good care towards one in need.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:33,34)
FREEDOM from “BAD” CARE
Part of the “glorious liberty of the children of God” is freedom from worry.
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:21,22)
When we become the Lord’s covenant children we are not to have the same temporal focus the world has.
Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. (1 Corinthians 7:21,22)
The “cares of this life” are put in the same category as the riches and pleasures of this life that can distract and consume one.
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Luke 8:14)
We can focus on a problem until it consumes us.
Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. (Habakkuk 1:3)
We can become upset with God that He doesn’t seem as concerned as we are about a problem we face.
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he? (Habakkuk 1:13)
Care becomes bad when it causes us to worry and fret.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Psalm 37:8)
We can become so consumed by the cares of this life that we can turn from God and to another “god” to save us.
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. (Luke 21:34)
When we declare that the Lord doesn’t care for us we betray a lack of faith.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (Mark 4:37-40)
We can become so overwhelmed by cares that we begin to reproach the Lord for not caring about our situation.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Matthew 10:38-42)
Our heart and mind can still be assaulted with cares. We are commanded though to be “careful” over nothing. In order to obey this command and have protection from the torments of fear we must pray.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,7)
Because God has given so many promises of care to His covenant children they are commanded to have “no thought” (i.e., care) about His providing for their necessities.
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:25-30)
Jesus characterized those not in covenant relationship with God as preoccupied with how they will be cared for in this world.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:31,32)
Anxiety rightly belongs to those who are out of fellowship with God.
And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (Deuteronomy 28:65-67)
Jesus promised us that if our focus will be on His kingdom and righteousness we will have all our necessities provided for.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus warned us against focusing on the possibilities of tomorrow.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)
We can be free of “bad” care as we trust that God will be with us in every difficult situation we will face ahead.
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matthew 10:19,20)
Knowing and believing that God cares for us, we are to “cast all our cares on Him.”
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Knowing He is caring for them, God’s children can have peace and joy regardless of the situation they face.
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk:3:17,18)