Jump Start # 2300
1 Peter 5:7 “casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”
With this Jump Start we reach yet another milestone, number 2300. Who would have thought? Our readership is at an all time high and we are sending hundreds of our Jump Start books to Africa. It is amazing the lives that are being touched. Thank you for reading these. Thank you for sharing these with others. Our readership has grown by word of mouth. It now numbers somewhere over 3,000.
A friend asked recently, “Just what does God care about in our lives?” Our verse today tells us that He does care, but to what extent does He care? You and I care about all kinds of things. Some of these things bother us. Some we worry about. Some we take to God in prayer about. Some are big and important and some seem silly.
As I write this, I look about my office which is lined neatly with hundreds of books. Does God care that my books are all lined up, facing forward and placed evenly on a shelf? I do. Does He? At the end of the day, I empty my trash can. I like coming in the next day with the trash empty. Does God care about that? I like certain music playing in the background while I type. Does God care? I like my desk to be neat and in order. Does God?
Let’s go on. I like a weed-free yard. Does God care? I like a clean car. Does God? I like timely responses to texts and emails? Does God feel that way? In basketball, I want Purdue to win. In baseball, it’s the Dodgers. In football, it’s the Colts. Does God care? Does He have a favorite team? I like ice in my tea and my soup not to be too hot. Does God care? I like folks to be on time. I like services to start on time. I like mics to work and lights to turn on and the church building to be a comfortable temp on Sunday. Does God care? I like traffic to run smoothly, short lines at the airport and ice cream in my freezer. Does God?
What does God care about? He cares about us, but just what does He care about in us? In Luke 12 someone asked Jesus to solve a family problem about inheritance. The exact statement was, “Tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” The man who said that cared about that. He cared that he wasn’t getting what he thought he should. Interestingly, Jesus did not answer the way he figured. Jesus did not tell his brother anything. Jesus told the man about greed. Jesus didn’t seem to care about this problem. He seemed to care more about the man’s attitude toward money.
So, here are some things to consider:
- Because I care about something, does not mean that God does, nor that God feels the same way that I do. This is a common assumption folks make. Because they like something, they assume that God does. They equate their feelings to how God feels. That concept doesn’t work in other areas of life. I like to write with a fountain pen. I even have a dip pen. My wife doesn’t like those. She feels that they are too messy. How I feel is not how she feels. I was in a discussion with someone about worship. They liked praise bands and Gospel rock ‘n roll. The person made this assumption. Because they liked it, God liked it. How do you know, I asked. Then I asked, which does God like better, Coke or Pepsi? His response, “How would I know?” That’s my point!
All that we know about God is revealed in Scriptures. Who knows the thoughts of a person, Paul writes to the Corinthians. What we have is the mind of God revealed in Scriptures. Outside of Scriptures we don’t know. Because I like Purdue, the Dodgers and ice cream does not mean that God does. There is nothing in Scriptures that reveal such things.
- In the Scriptures God seems to show more interest about our insides than our outsides. We often are more concerned with the opposite. We care about the outside of things but do not think much about the insides. So, we find Jesus amazed at the faithless disciples. We find Jesus marveling at the faith of a Gentile woman. Torn shoes, stains on our clothes, or even in Martha’s case, serving while your sister is sitting, now those things bother us, concern us and worry us. The Lord told Martha that she was bothered by so many things. That’s us. Faith. Forgiveness. Love. Trust. Hope. Honesty. Obedience. Those are the things that Jesus noticed. You never read in the Scriptures about Jesus complimenting someone’s outfit or style of hair. You never read where Jesus said to Peter, “Cool sandals.” Insides and outsides, they do make a difference.
This does not mean that God does not care at all about our physical side, the outside of us. He does. We find the Lord telling us to pray for our daily bread. We see Paul asking for prayers for safety and the health of others. The presentation of God as our Father, demonstrated by Jesus so many times, helps us to understand this concept. As parents, we want our children to be healthy, happy, content, and doing well. But we also want them to grow in maturity and spiritually on the inside. God is much like this.
So the question is raised, Does God want me to live here or there? Does God want me to be plumber or a pilot? Does God want me to stay in my house or get another house? I think many of us would just as well have God map out our entire life for us. You will marry this person. You will have this number of children. You will work at this place and you will live in this house on this street. For some, that would be very comforting. Yet, what that does is take away the element of walking by faith.
Whether I live here or there. Work this job or that job. Have this number of children or that number, God wants me to honor Him, walk with Him, trust Him and put Him before all things. If I am a plumber, do it for the glory of the Lord and do it to the best of your ability. If you preach, do it for the glory of God and to it to the best of your ability. If you live in an apartment, do it for the glory of God and do it to the best of your ability. If you live in a house, do it for the glory of God and do it to the best of your ability.
When Peter says that He cares for you, He does. God doesn’t want you to be frightened, discouraged, or defeated. He doesn’t want you to shrink back or be consumed with worry. He doesn’t want you to be conquered by sin. He wants your faith to soar. He wants you to let your light shine brightly. He wants you marching boldly to Zion. Can I do that as a plumber? Yes. Can I do that while living in an apartment? Yes. Can I do that here? Yes. Can I do that there? Yes.
God wants Christ dwelling in your heart. God wants you to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Can I do that in Africa? Yes. Can I do that in the U.S.? Yes. Does God care which one I live in? I don’t know. You don’t know. Either place, God wants us to be living for Him.
There are a lot of things you and I care about that in a hundred years will not matter, let alone in eternity. Sometimes we can let these things consume us, bog us down and sidetrack us to what really matters. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, seems to be the greater need and the greater concern.
God cares about you. The Scriptures teach that. The more important question is, “Do I care about God?” and, “Do I care about my soul?” The answer to those questions will help me deal with what I ought to be really concerned about.
Remember the hymn: “Does Jesus care… Oh, yes He cares. I know He cares. His heart is touched by my grief. When the days are weary, the long night dreary, I know my Savior cares.”
He cares for you…what a powerful, incredible and comforting statement!