As often happens while sitting in church a scripture is given or something is said that may only be tangentially related to the sermon topic itself but it triggers in me that I realize that it is not only the meaning that God wanted me to get from the service, but it also triggers as a seed for blog post. This post is one such post. Warning, this may be a bit of a dry post as I’m going to be looking at word origins and such, so be aware if that holds no interest to you.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7
This is how it reads in the NIV translation. The translation given at church was from the NLT and reads;
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
What struck me was the use of the word cares in two different contexts, one as a noun and one as a verb. Granted the pastor did go into a similar explanation of what I’m about to talk about and the entire sermon leads up to this verse, I’ll post a link to the sermon once the church puts one up.
Anyway, when I want to look at the meaning of words and how and why they were translated into English as they are, I like to look back at the original text in the original languages.
So the first instance of cares, is the word ‘merimnan’ which we also see translated into anxiety (which is a more descriptive translation to us modern English speakers) is described as meaning:
A part, separated from the whole, worry, anxiety. Dividing and fracturing a person’s being into parts.
So literally he is talking about those things that we stress over that divides our attention and distracts us. When we become Christians, we want to focus on the works of God, what He is doing in the world around us and how we can be a part of that. This worry and anxiety, literally takes our focus off of that and puts it back onto us and our situation.
The second instance of the cares, the verb is the word ‘melei’ which is described as:
To be of interest to, to take care, to be concerned about. To take interest in.
This tells us that God truly takes an interest in us. He cares about us and our situation, whether it’s a financial issue, a health issue, a relationship issue or a spiritual issue. God is truly interested in the details of our lives.
The takeaway from all this, is that God truly cares about our lives, but as long as we are distracted by our worries and anxieties, we can not see how much he cares and we struggle to give our full attention to Him and his works. I take this verse as a clear instruction to us. Cast our worries and anxieties on him, and God who truly cares for us and loves us will use us in mighty ways.