Sometimes I write from the seat of a teacher or guide. Other times I write as a caring pastor. Today I write as someone in the trenches, fully convicted by the Word of God.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying and meditating on one passage. In Galatians 6:1-2, Paul writes, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
To be specific, I’ve spent more time on the last sentence in this passage where Paul says that we should bear one another’s burdens. You and I were never meant to live alone without friends and others to carry our burdens. In Genesis 2:18, Moses writes, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”” Even though this is a marriage verse, the implication is clear that it’s not good for us to live without others around us. We need others and others need us.
Can you help a brother out?
Imagine for a moment that I asked you to come over my house to help me move a television from the garage behind my house to our upstairs bedroom. And let’s also say for the point of the illustration, that it’s an old school (HEAVY) tv, not one of these new flat screen tvs. One last detail: it’s 103 degrees outside and our air conditioning is out of commission. If you decide to accept my invitation to help me move the tv, you’re going to get sweaty and your arms will tire out.
I promise you that I’ll buy you pizza so you come over. And much to my chagrin, as I bend over the pick up the tv, I notice you really don’t help much. You pick up the power cord and remote control and leave me to do the heavy lifting on my own. Somehow
we I get the tv upstairs, and I’m exhausted and dripping with sweat. You look like you haven’t even broken a sweat from carrying the power cord and remote. I repay you by buying you some bad pizza in exchange for your lack of real effort.
You, my friend, did not bear my burdens.
When I recently read Galatians 6:2, I was reminded how exhausting and gritty it can be to carry someone’s burdens when they’re down and out. When you and I need help, we need someone to bear our burdens. We need to know that you’ll get dirty and tired and break a sweat. You and I need someone to help us carry the tv, not carry the power cord.
Here’s where it gets personal
Sometimes when my friends need help or a couple comes to me at Watermark, there are times when I’m afraid or hesitant to do more than pick up the power cord. I know that ministry is draining at times and I know I will be exhausted on the other side of helping others. When I bear their burdens it might involve meeting at nights or in the early mornings. It might mean that I have to give up some free time or it might even mean I need to lose some sleep for a night or two in order to help them.
I have several sets of friends who are struggling at this moment in their marriages. Some of them have children, others don’t. Regardless, there are times when I don’t want to get involved. If I do, I know it will cost me time, sweat, energy and it might even inconvenience me. Most of the time the burden is too heavy to bear on our own.
I need to be reminded that when we get in the middle of the mess, when we help bear someone else’s load/burden, we fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2b).
I need to remember the number of times that people have carried my burdens. The times they’ve prayed for me, endured with me, texted me, and challenged me. I need to remember the times they have carried me when I couldn’t take another step. I need to remember that so many times others have fulfilled the law of Christ in helping bear my burdens.
Let’s help bear burdens, not just carry the power cord or remote.
Think back to a time when someone carried your burdens. Take a minute and send them a text. Even better, take a few minutes and write them a note.
Who are the people in your life who need some help right now carrying their burdens? What can you do to help them?