Have you ever considered it to be a great blessing to be the bearer of another’s burdens? If you never have, please read on.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
No ambiguity in this Scripture; every child of God is called to help others carry their burdens—and in so doing, to fulfill the law of Christ. One of the blessings given us in this call is the fact that we are given countless opportunities to obey it! Do you know why? It’s because everyone is carrying a burden—and that includes you and me. Everyone we meet is in the middle of their story, and most of them are laden with fresh burdens they need help in shouldering.
- The burden of loneliness
- The burden of loss
- The burden of fractured families
- The burden of wayward children
- The burden of sickness and disease
- The burden of being betrayed
- The burden of being out of work
- The burden of working too much
- The burden of not enough money
- The burden of too much money
- The burden of painful providences
These burdens, and so many more, are the common life experience for every one of us. Peter cautioned us, “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). While life on this side of glory will be filled with burdens, God never designed us to attempt to carry them alone.
My beloved pastor Tullian likes to remind us that God did not save us only from our sin; he also saved us from our solitude. We were saved by God to community—the community of faith, where we are to lay down our lives for each other. The more we are oriented toward others (rather than toward self), the more easy it is to come alongside someone and share their struggle. One of the great blessings of bearing the burdens of others is the way it shifts our focus away from ourselves. And that is always a good thing.
But the greatest blessing of bearing others’ burdens is found in the way we become more like our Savior. Jesus bore the burden of the demands of the law because we could not do it. Jesus bore the burden of the demands of God’s judgment because we could not do it. Jesus bore all of our burdens and continues to bear them. His words of burden-bearing are a constant source of comfort to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
This precious promise is not only fulfilled when we are weary and burdened with our own burdens, but also when we are exhausted from bearing the burdens of others. Burdens bring our limits to the surface, and our limits magnify the limitless power of our God, who gives us what we need to do what he commands. We are never more like our Lord than when we are carrying the burdens of others.
So . . . who in your life right now needs help in shouldering a burden? What’s holding you back from carrying it? God never calls us to do something without equipping us to get it done, and that includes carrying burdens.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!