Summary: Final sermon as pastor, before retirement. Trust God for the future; He cares for you. Cast on Him anxiety about what threatens us; what only appears to threaten us; and about our ultimate destinies.
I was taught never to put all my eggs in one basket. I was told, as a young person, that I needed to be careful not to commit myself to one and only one thing. I was to stay open to a variety of choices.
When I started earning money, my parents taught me not to spend it all on any one interest, but to use my few dollars for various things. So, as a boy, I collected stamps, I bought smelly ingredients for my chemistry set, I added to my horde of comic books, and occasionally invested in a model airplane or a new car for my train set. It seemed like a good idea not to put all my resources into only one thing.
When I got to be a teenager, my parents said the same thing about girls. They said I was too young to be tied to just one young lady, that I should get to know quite a few. Don’t get too committed to just one person too soon. It worked well enough, although I must confess that I was one socially awkward puppy, and at the dance class my parents made me go to – can you imagine a Baptist family in the 1950’s actually pushing ballroom dancing? – at the dance class I zeroed in on a young lady who was more or less related to me and made her life miserable while I was making mine more comfortable by focusing only on her. But I heard what my parents said – don’t focus on only one thing, only one person, only one interest. Play the field. Sit loose. See what comes along. There may be something better. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
But, brothers and sisters, you cannot stay in that mode forever. You cannot keep all your options open forever. The time comes when you must make a decision. The time came when I had to decide what profession I would enter; I have told you many times how the Lord got my attention when I was twenty years old, and I’ve never even wanted to look back on that. A couple of years later someone named Margaret got my attention, too, and we married when I was only twenty-three and she was twenty-two. We made a life commitment to one another, and we are as persuaded today as we were on that May day in 1961 when we joined hands and hearts. And you and I made a covenant with one another in the summer of 1986, for I knew then, as I still know, that this was God’s place for me. I have never regretted that covenant, nor have I tried to escape it.
There comes a moment when it is absolutely necessary to commit all that you have to only one thing. There is a time, in our lives, when we know that this is our calling, this is our place, and it deserves all that we have and ever hope to be. All.
What a weighty word, that one. All. Every. What part of “all” do we not understand? “All,” as in “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I’ve proved that one! And “all,” as in “cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” Can I really put all that I am, all that I ever hope to be, into the hands of God? Can we truly commit all to Him? What does that mean for you and for me at this time in our lives?
I’m using the same basic outline that I used nearly twenty years ago, when I preached on this text in my first sermon as Interim Pastor here. The development is different by far, but the essentials are the same. I said then, and I say now, that, first, we must cast on God all our anxiety about the things that threaten us; that, second, we must cast on God all our anxiety about the things we imagine will threaten us; and finally, that the key to victory is to give to God our ultimate anxiety, our anxiety about death, our fear for our lives and safety. Brothers and sisters, we at Takoma need to see all over again how to trust God and cast on Him all our anxiety.
And if we do trust Him, He will prosper us, He will save us, He will grow us, and He will lead us. But if we do not trust Him ... or, if we trust Him only part-way ... if we trust Him less than “all”, we will find ourselves miserable, unhappy, and failing. Let me get specific.
First, we must cast onto God all our anxiety about the things that do threaten us. We must begin with trusting God for the daily nitty-gritty, tough, things that trip us up and keep us from moving forward. We must cast onto God all our anxiety about what it means to live and to survive.