“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
“When God places people in your life who are in need, He is aware of what they lack, and He knows He has given you the resources to meet those needs.” Experiencing God Day-by-Day, Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
“Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? If you really carry out the royal law prescribed in scripture, love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.” James 2:8 CSB
Recently I was asked by a very dear friend if I had asked God why. Why He didn’t change the challenges in my life. Why was God allowing me to be placed in situations where much of what I loved doing was stripped from me! Why God didn’t heal me. In his question, my friend was specifically referring to the health issues which have been the “thorn in my side” the last six years. My answer totally took him by surprise.
I haven’t asked God why because I know why. At least I understand one aspect of why and the rest I have to leave with the One who has the plans and knows why. The part I understand is this, we live in a world caught up in the rebellion of Adam and Eve. This rebellion allowed the enemy of God to claim authority over the world when Adam abdicated his rightful position as Head Steward. The result created in the world what Paul called “moaning and groaning’’ as it waits the return of Jesus. Until then, it too experiences the impact of brokenness. This is one result of the rebellion, brokenness. This brokenness impacts everything God created on planet Earth, especially humanity. We are all broken having burdens that are too much for us to carry! Therefore, we are called to be available to each other and to help in whatever manner we are needed.
Our egocentricity is revealed when we think everything which occurs in our lives is about us. Because this attitude is so pervasive, the following saying has evolved, “It’s not all about you!” Often God provides opportunities for His children to experience the results of living in this broken world so we may have the ability to empathize with the suffering of another. We often sympathize with others, but empathy is putting ourselves in someone else’s position, another’s shoes! Of course, this is can only be accomplished to a limited degree, for no one can completely identify with someone else’s feelings. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
There is an incredible amount of emotional tension in the air right now over the ruling of the Supreme Court concerning Same Sex Marriage. I would suggest we as Christians consider what this means to those who have been working to get the legislation passed. These are people who have experienced the loss of everyday courtesies, those things we take for granted and tend to demand when we feel they are missing. There are deeper concerns for those who are personally impacted than most of us in the Christian community are aware exist. Jesus calls us to help bear the weight others are carrying, there are no qualifications listed about whether they are deserving or who they are!
Consider where the issue with abortion would be if the Body of Christ had responded to “our” girls (and I consider all God’s creations our responsibility) with love, grace, and mercy, rather than with condemnation, exclusion, shame, expulsion, and guilt, placing on them “The Scarlett Letter” of hell fire and brimstone! I propose the abortion issue as we see it today would be significantly toned down if the Body had endeavored to be what we are always called to be in Jesus Christ, those who carry the burdens of others.
“Recognizing a need in someone’s life can be one of the greatest invitations from God you will ever experience. It’s easy to become frustrated by the problems of others. Allow God to help you see beyond the obvious needs of others to the things He wants to accomplish in their lives. Don’t miss God’s activity because you’re reluctant to carry the load of others.” Experiencing God Day-by-Day
The Body has lost it’s calling to love, replacing it with words and actions that are killing our witness. We are called to give the witness of Jesus to a planet dying for lack of love and God’s Grace. I would hazard a guess most of humanity knows they are dysfunctional (or in a more pointed vernacular, we are messed up)! So knowing this it is appropriate to be open, honest, vulnerable, real, and authentic, knowing we are being transformed and renewed, made into everything God intended us to be and to become. A part of this becoming is helping others as they live life this broken planet.
No matter one’s circumstances, we all have something God has blessed us with that allows us to be invested in the lives of others. And that is exactly what it is to be a burden bearer. We accept our responsibility as someone who takes the name of Christ follower, the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world was laid. Jesus as our example didn’t get caught up in those issues which took away from God’s kingdom. Every day we have opportunities to meet the needs of those who are hurting. Let’s face it, we have plenty to do in following our calling as disciples of Jesus. No matter what we believe our resources to be, God provides us all we need to impact the lives of others in ways that will make a difference for eternity.
You will be surprised by the opportunities God shows us each day to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Think of the paradigm shift that is needed so we can accept our mission in this world where we live and the impact we have just by being. In many ways, we continue to miss our true calling when we forget our responsibility to the less fortunate. Jesus told us the poor will always be with us. The “poor” may struggle financially or need encouragement and mentoring with family or other personal relationships. They may be poor in health, hope, or in another area where God has blessed you and you are wealthy. As you consider this, consider also if you are willing to accept your responsibility to them.
“It may be that He (God) has been purposefully building things into your life so that you can now be the kind of person who will carry the burdens of others.” Experiencing God Day-by-Day
Lastly remember you can’t do this on your own. It isn’t possible for us to do what Jesus did unless we do it the same way Jesus did! Jesus made it plain that He did everything through His Father, He declared that He relied on His Father to accomplish every miracle, every action, everything! It can be no different with us, especially as we recognize our need for His power in our lives.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.’” Matthew 11:28-30 New Living Testament