“Cares”

Neal Pollard

In the book of poems, “Pack Up Your Troubles,” is the following poem, entitled “Cares” and written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

The little cares that fretted me, I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea, among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds, the rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds, the humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what may happen, I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass, among the new-mown hay;
Among the husking of the corn where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born, out in the fields with God (Malone, 215-6)

This Victorian-era, English poet echoes the teaching of Christ in Matthew six.  In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord addresses one of mankind’s most common tendencies.  Worry, whatever we call it–“anxiousness,” “concern,” or “fretting”–is depicted by Jesus as short-sighted (25), senseless (26-30), faithless (30), forbidden (31), pagan (32), improper prioritizing (33), and unproductive (34).

In the midst of His admonition, Jesus points to the birds, lilies, and grass.  Long before Browning’s beautiful poem, Jesus had driven home this idea.  Watch the creation of God.  How carefree they tend to their business, not assured of another moment or another meal.  How provided for they are, even though they are so often helpless and powerless.

But we are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27).  Jesus died for us all (2 Cor. 5:15).  He not only provides for us now, but He is preparing an eternal house for those of us who prepare to inhabit it (Jn. 14:1-4; Ps. 23:6).  Are you wrestling with worry?  Jesus knew you would.  All He says is that it is unnecessary since God knows you have needs, it is untrusting since it shows a lack of confidence in God’s power, and unfruitful since it concerns a tomorrow that is beyond our reach.  Certainly we have cares.  But, as Peter says, cast all of them on the caring Christ (1 Pet. 5:7).

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