Careless in his care

detail from SONG OF THE STARS, illustration by Allison Jay

detail from SONG OF THE STARS, illustration by Allison Jay

“careless in the care of God”

That’s a phrase from Eugene Peterson I read this morning. (From his translation of Matthew 6:26 where Jesus is talking about the birds and how they don’t worry about what to eat or what to wear. And how life is about more than that. And anyway look how God cares for birds and we are far more to him than birds.)

“Look at the birds”–(this by the way, as a famous theologian once pointed out, means bird watching is a commandment)–“Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God.”

“Careless in the care of God.” Careless? Hmm. Isn’t that being irresponsible? Isn’t that something we should avoid?

I think it’s all to do with who’s doing the caring, whose care we are in.

If it’s our own care then we better not be careless. If it’s all up to us, then we better be vigilant. We can’t let our guard down for a minute.

Obviously, if you are the pilot of a plane, being careless as you fly is Not Good. You can’t take a nap. You can’t decide to watch a movie. You can’t leave the cockpit and go and chat with the passengers. You must be very careful, you must pay attention constantly to what you are doing or the plane will go down.

But what if you are a passenger? You can afford to fall asleep, watch a movie, chat with your neighbor or not, kick back and relax, do whatever–since you’re not the one flying the plane. It’s not all up to you to keep the plane in the air.


The birds aren’t worrying. They are care-free. Not anxious. Why? Because God cares for them. They are in his care. God is the one caring for them.

Sometimes I forget I’m not the one flying the plane.

How about you?


11 Responses to “Careless in his care”

  1. Christina

    Love this. Yesterday there was a cute little bird with a Mohawk pounding himself into a window in the breezeway of our apartment complex. I tried everything to get him out into the open skies, including throwing raisins at him. After seeing him struggle for hours (I wasn’t watching the whole time), and finally realizing I couldn’t help him, I retreated to my apartment. About dusk I took a peek outside; and right after I opened the door I had the pleasure of seeing him fly down from his place of struggle, grab a raisin, fly into the open skies, land on a tree branch and sing his heart out. I like that “watching the birds” is a command.

    • Sally Lloyd-Jones

      very cool–thank you for sharing this Christina. I’ve just spent some time in Texas — where there are so many wonderful birds–so i was being obedient and watching them any chance I got! 🙂

      • Christina

        There is a nature center I love to go to in my town, Boerne, where I hike and watch the birds, deer, and armadillo. I found you from listening to Tullian’s sermons, by the way.

      • Christina

        Oh I was just wondering “how did she know I was from Texas?” but just realized you were just stating that you had been here. Yep, I’m a Texas girl born and bred…and yes there are many beautiful birds here:)

  2. Kathryn

    Sally, will you please jot my name down and pray for me? To see wisdom as beautiful and to have faith and joy in Jesus? To experience being careless in his care and knowing in my very marrow that this is the only good way and that I will desire it more than anything? Thanks so much.

    • Mary

      Oops! Just realized my reply didn’t post because I had a smily face or two within. Sorry.
      What I wanted to say was how much I appreciated this good word from Matthew via EP. I think I’ll post it on the refrigerator for daily reminding.
      Love and blessings, dear friend!

      • Mas

        I have loved all of your AMAZING photos from your trip. We went on a trip last year and hiked in the rain foerst. It was awesome and I long to go back there daily. I hope that you have a wonderful week. Saw you again on Fit and Fun. You look fabulous as always!


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