Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7, KJV
Peter was a fisherman. It's little stretch to imagine that his livelihood affected his ministry and his writings. At least, that's what I notice when I read one of his most-quoted verses, the one about "casting" our cares.
The word Peter uses here for "cast" is a less-usual one. The only other time the word epirrhipto is used in the New Testament is in Luke 19:35: "they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon." Epirrhipto means "to throw upon, or place upon."
Keep that in mind now as you imagine...
You are Peter. You're in a boat, afloat upon a vast body of water. Your method of fishing is not the rod-and-reel. Instead, you have this tangled, twisted mass that is your net. It's heavy, burdensome. Hard to work by yourself. Even so, you take this soggy, cumbersome thing... and you fling it away from you. Give it up. Let it fall trustingly upon the sea. Leave it to Providence.
The net represents your "cares," your anxieties... whatever is weighing you down. Don't carry it in your boat; that's not what it's for. Believe it or not, it has a purpose. That is, your own twisted mass of cares exists for the sole reason of trusting it to the very mighty arms that are supporting you.
And what happens then?
Well, let's check in on those cares. Go ahead, haul up the net. Chances are, it may just be full of fish. Has the simple act of tossing away your cares brought an abundance back upon you? Did humbly offering your net up to the one keeping you afloat bring back a yield of met needs? What would have happened if you had kept hold of that heavy mass and fretted over it yourself in your little boat? Yeah, nothing.
What's got you in a tangle? Finances? Marriage? Singleness? Work? Health? A dried-up spiritual life? A combination of the above?
Let it be so. Take that twisted thing from off your shoulders and huck it out upon the ocean. You can trust God. This is your act of submission, surrender, sharing your troubles instead of pretending they don't exist. Peter tells us this is a path of humility. Admit that all your net-mending isn't doing a thing to bring in any fish, you fisher of men. So really chuck it out there. Let it land upon Him. And don't even ask why, because Peter tells us why: God cares for you. You are His own "care." He will bear you up for His own purposes.
And when He calls you to check in on those cares again, just be prepared for what comes to the surface.
The very things that entangle may become a snare for blessing and sustenance instead when given to the Lord.
Have you ever handled a real fisherman's net? I haven't, but I intend to get my hands on one and see just how big, mended, and heavy it is. To see how it works. To ask how one knows where to set it down in the water, and how many fish it can bring up. Make a net of your own cares and anxieties and physically fling it out upon God's ocean of grace.
Shawn McEvoy is the Managing Editor of Crosswalk.com.
Publication Date: June 15, 2012