The Savior's Warning!
"Take heed to yourselves — lest at any time your hearts he weighed down with the cares of this life." Luke 21:34
Here our beloved Savior cautions us against a common evil:
the cares of this life;
or being too anxious to amass wealth;
or having too high a concern for temporal things.
This is a snare into which many fall, an evil by which many are drowned in destruction and perdition!
When are we too anxious about temporal things?
When we shorten the necessary hours of rest.
When we deprive ourselves of time for private devotion.
When we neglect family duties.
When we feel tied and bound to earthly things.
When we do not make the salvation of our household the principal end.
When we give up attendance at the Lord's house.
When we let the world have the time once devoted to the Savior.
When the heart is weighed down, and we cannot retain God's Word, are unfitted for holy meditation.
What leads to this state?
1. The love of present things — which arises very much from setting a false value upon them.
2. The fear of poverty — as if poverty were worse than sin, and was more to be dreaded than the frown of God.
3. A desire for independence — that we may feel that we are our own carvers — this is an improper feeling, an unholy desire. Happiness is in childlike dependence on God; and the more dependant, if faith is lively — the more happy.
4. Giving into temptations. Satan can so show us the false glare of the world — as to deceive us.
5. Presuming on our own abilities or strength — as if we imagined that we were wiser and stronger than others; and therefore more capable of managing earthly things. But we are always in danger when we begin to imagine, that though others have fallen — yet, though in the same place, and surrounded by the same temptations — we never shall. How necessary is that command, "Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world; if any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." All are liable to be overcome. The temptations are peculiarly strong, and multitudes have been overcome by them. The heart is dreadfully deceitful — and is sure to beguile us; let us, therefore, "take heed." Without caution — we shall not watch; unless we watch — we shall not pray; and unless we pray — we may not expect to be kept.
Beware, for if our heart is weighed down with the cares of this life, however spiritual we may have been . . .
it will soon impoverish the soul,
our graces will wither,
our evidences become dim and questionable,
and the fervor of our devotion will die.
Our heart being weighed down with the cares of this life — will assist Satan! By the thorns of worldly cares — he chokes the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. It will perhaps injure bodily health, and even abridge our days. It will make sad work for repentance, and our souls will be filled with gloom, when they ought to be rejoicing in God.
This caution of our dear Lord is kind, and it is as necessary as it is kind!
Take heed, for the day is coming! The day of death will soon be here — it may be much nearer than we expect! And if it finds our hearts weighed down with the cares of this life — it will find us unfit fo Heaven.
The day when Jesus will appear the second time will soon be here; and then, unless our lamps are trimmed, our loins girded, our lights burning, and we have oil in our vessels — there is no going in with Him into the marriage feast! My friend, what if that day should come upon you unawares, what if it should find you unprepared! It is possible. It must be a very dreadful thing, for death to come, or for Jesus to come and find us not ready — after all his cautions, warnings, and exhortations.
The cares of this life render many inattentive to the most important duties: to despise the invaluable promises of God; to mistake the design of this life, which is to prepare for another, a better, an eternal state of existence!