Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Art of Burden Bearing

OverwhelmedI don't want to burden you. If anything, I want to help you to become unburdened. Yet, there are some burdens you will not only have to bear, there are certain burdens that only you can bear - indeed, you need to bear them. And there are burdens still, that you will haveto share. In fact, being a follower of Christ will acquaint you with burdens like no other kind of life. As such, it will soon be discovered that, being a part of a Christian community will be your greatest chance of better bearing whatever burdens you are laden with.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2
Christians are students of the art and science of burdens. We learn to carry them, help others with theirs, and how to share ours. But we also learn when to let others share their burdens with us and when this is not reasonable.
For each will have to bear his own load.
Galatians 6:5
burden bearerAfter two decades of pastoring where I have had the privilege of trying to help people apply the Gospel and their commitment to the centrality of Christ in their lives in all things, there have been times when I have carried many people's burdens. This has been both my pleasure and my duty. This is an application of Galatians 6:2. But where it has not been my pleasure and beyond my reasonable realms of duty has been where I am the only one bearing any burden. This is a violation of Galatians 6:5. There have been occasional times when I have fought harder to save a marriage than those in a failing marriage. I have had to learn a thing or two about the art of burden bearing.
If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.
First Timothy 5:16
There are necessary burdens that we must each bear. We generally call these responsibilities. Your capacity to be responsible is will determine your maturity (not the other way around). Mature people are responsible people. Responsible people seek for ways to solve the burdens they are laden with. This is why marriage is so wonderful for a young man because it provides the means and motivation to increase his capacity to bear responsibilities. Marriage is a wonderful burden, but it is not the only means for becoming a responsible burden bearer. Work is also a divinely ordained means to fulfil our God-given potential. Work may be paid or voluntary. It may be in a workplace, or it may in the home. We are created to work. Work is a necessary burden. It's not that responsible people work, it's that when people work they become responsible. It's taking on responsibilities that makes us responsible - not the other way around. For the believer, many of these responsibilities are daunting. Work, family, friends, bills, life, health, are all varying burdens that we bear. But the believer has learned that God is the Ultimate Burden Bearer who invites us to be "yoked" to Him.
¶ Cast your burden on the LORD,
and He will sustain you;
He will never permit
the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 55:22
"Come to Me," Jesus invited, "all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest - for My burden is light and My yoke is easy!" The believer never bears her burden alone. She is yoked to a strong Saviour. What burdens are you still carrying alone?
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Joseph Scriven, 1855
There are burdens we are forced to bear. These are often unwelcome burdens. But the Father ordains and then sustains. Then there are burdens we share. A loved one is afflicted. A brother in Christ is overcome. A sister in the Lord is overcome.
¶ 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
Galatians 6:1-2
In the Father's handAnd there are still burdens we look for. We are created to bear burdens. We may not agree or even like this truth. But we are burden-bearers. Those who go deeper into Christ discover the pain and pleasantness of sharing the Lord's burdens. Those who do only ever experience what I imagine is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the burden that the Creator Himself feels for His wayward children. There is a burden for the lost, the hurting, the rejected, and the abused that the fullness of which is only known to the Father. No human has the capacity to carry it. But each time we sit at the Father's feet we see it in His eyes, we sense it in His look, we hear it in His breath. We are deeply and profoundly moved by experiencing it. This glimpse of the Father's burden changes the way we look at people. It changes the way we view church. It also changes the way we view our other burdens.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9
It has been said that when someone outside of the Kingdom goes through the burden of tragedy, the Father ordains the same tragedy for one of His children to show the world the difference. The world gets angry at its burdens. The world tries to drown its burdens. The world attempts to medicate, counsel, and shift its burdens. But the child of God carries - with the Father's help - those burdens He has ordained for us - and along the way we worship the One who Sustains, and seeks to reflect His greatness through, us. Rather than shirking your burdens, embrace them by giving them to Jesus who invites you to do so. Perhaps you have been carrying the burdens of others as well as your own? There comes a point when Galatians 6:5 must follow Galatians 6:1-2. But perhaps you have only ever experienced Galatians 6:5 and have never entered into Galatians 6:1-2? God has placed within His Church those whom He has graced to dispense His grace for those who are burdened.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace
First Peter 4:10
Ps. Andrew

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