Have you ever heard of a "cast sheep"? If not, don't worry; you're in good company. A cast sheep is one that has somehow rolled over onto its back and can't get up. This generally happens to sheep who are somewhat unhealthy or those who are pregnant. When a sheep becomes "cast", it finds itself in a position in which only the shepherd can help. Well-meaning passersby may attempt to help the distressed sheep, but without the proper knowledge, the individuals could actually hurt the sheep by breaking its back or one of its legs. The shepherd knows the proper technique for rescuing the cast sheep and understands the importance of timing for a sheep that remains cast for too long could die.
Over and over again, the Bible tells us to cast our cares and burdens on the Lord. Probably the most famous of these verses is I Peter 5:7 which says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." It was Peter who penned these words under the instruction of the Holy Spirit. Peter the disciple. Peter the fisherman. And because of his involvement in this verse, I fear we often think of the word "cast" from a fisherman's point of view. When a fisherman casts his net or line, he never really lets go of it, and he has every intention of hauling or reeling it back in. Isn't that how we often "cast" our burdens to the Lord? We never really let go, and we have no real intention of leaving them with Him.
Upon my recent education about cast sheep, I've come to the conclusion that our cares that are cast to the Lord should be like those cast sheep -- they should be in a place and position where only the Shepherd can deal with them. The cast sheep cannot help themselves, no matter how hard they may try. The same can be said for us. For the distressed animal, their only hope is to wait for the shepherd to deliver them. We are in the same predicament. There's nothing we can do about our problems and struggles, so why do we refuse to release them? Why don't we truly cast them off, not so they can be reeled in again but so that they are in a place where only the Shepherd can help?
How has your casting been going lately? Are you like the fisherman who never lets go of your burdens, or are you practicing the shepherd's view of casting? Let's stop stressing ourselves out for no reason. Let's resolve to take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there!