I am not much of a fisherman … in fact I am no fisherman at all. The last time I cast a line into a body of water is likely well over 30 years ago, and that was done simply because of our young sons’ initiative. My picture of “casting”, while I know it may be inaccurate, is mindlessly throwing a line with a lure as far away from me as possible and then slowly reeling it in … and then repeating the same procedure over and over and over again, with the hope that every once in a great while there might be a fish attached to the lure (I hope I am not offending any of my fishermen friends out there).
However, upon further investigation, I find “casting” to be a most interesting verb (I am not even thinking of the noun form). My online dictionary gave me three slightly differing definitions: “1) to throw or hurl; fling – The gambler cast the dice. 2) to throw off or away – He cast the advertisement in the wastebasket. 3) To direct (the eye, a glance, etc.), especially in a cursory manner – She cast her eyes down the page.”
While the first of these definitions seems to fit into the fishing scene, the third is more what I plan to do in my free time this summer. I have five and a half books lined up, with a couple back-ups just in case. I will first be casting my eyes over them, and then, wherever I get “hooked” I will dive in for more extensive reading. This is my definition of fun and relaxation … especially if I can have my feet in the lake and my body leaning on the dock while I am doing it!
Did you notice that I jumped over the second definition of casting? I believe this second definition is the one Scripture has in mind as it says, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5.7) These days our world seems to be filled with anxiety (a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome). However, as God’s people in Christ Jesus, we are told to cast (throw off or away) ALL (the whole, entire, total amount, quantity, or extent of) our anxieties (see above) on Jesus (our Savior, friend, and chief shepherd). Why? Because he cares about us?
Of course, it takes faith to do this – similar, but not identical, to what the fisherman has when she is casting a few lines. Rather than the uncertain hope of a fisherman, the kind of faith I am referring to is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11.1) And, as you know, this “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10.17) Now you know at least part of my purpose in casting these few lines at you every Thursday … and why you always find bold italicized words in blue attached to the lines cast. Much more than a mere lure, it is the breath of God that “is able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3.15) … so that we will grow in our ability to be “casting all our anxieties on (Christ)” – knowing through faith – “he cares for us.”
As we cast our anxieties, fears, and worries away from our hearts and into the hands of Jesus in faith, the full message of today’s initial line casting becomes our reality. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded, watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5.6-9) Now I imagine some of you might be thinking about Matthew 4.19 at this moment, but – lest others of you challenge the word “few” in today’s title – I will stop casting at this point … with the prayer that these few lines will ease your anxiety and renew your strength (Isaiah 40.28-31).