When we think of burdens, a lot of the time we think they are something that are too heavy for us to carry. There is this weight that can at best weigh us down and make our hearts heavy. At worst, it can be so overwhelming that the weight of the world seems to be set squarely on our shoulders.
Sometimes, it really is. Sometimes, there are those who have so much going on in their lives that they simply cannot cope. Sometimes they retreat into a shell because it’s too much. Sometimes they lash out. The majority of the time they think it’s too much to bother someone else with. Someone else doesn’t need to deal with their problems. They are either thought to be insignificant or thought that they would be a bother to someone else.
Regardless, we who are burdened like this are stuck in this sticky goo the consistency of molasses. It won’t get off of us. It makes us slow, having difficulty processing through things. The mind is consistently weighed down by the ever present reminders that something is wrong and messed up in the world we live in.
This is a lot of weight for us to shoulder by ourselves. Rather, it is simply impossible to get through and to get through well without some sort of damage. Burdens are never meant to be shouldered alone. Just thinking logically, it’s so nice to just have someone around to share what’s going on and what is bothering us. There is so much more to that.
We have gone through and relived in our own minds the burdens we carry and the burdens of others we see in this world. Now think of what Christ has offered to us:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Think of the burdens you have, and even the burdens you share. Feel that weight on your shoulders. Now imagine bearing the weight of the entire world on His shoulders, generation after generation. That friends, is the strength, faithfulness, and love of our God. Generation after generation He has given those who were burdened rest, and the hope for a future with Him. He gave magnificent promises that we can constantly go back to when times seem at their worst, and we can know that our God is alive and will roar like a lion for us as in Hosea 11. We serve an awesome God that cares for His creation, especially His children. What god besides our God has offered to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders and sacrifice His Son for our sin? What then, is a better Person to run to with our burdens and find rest? Run to Him, and take His yoke.
This same Person is not only bearing our burdens, but asking us to be like Him in bearing each other’s burdens as the body of Christ.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Here is something we absolutely cannot miss. We gain more and more of His qualities as we get to know God. We take on the image of Christ in our own unique ways as He created us. Part of this is gaining His strength in our weakness. We can take on much more than we ever could have before. The key thing we always have to run back to is our trust and faith in Him in helping each other along. When we don’t draw from Him our strength, it quickly becomes overwhelming. When we do, it is beyond words how worth it it really is.
For one, you have the opportunity to grow in your relationship with God as you trust Him more and more with your burdens as well as others. His strength in your weakness shines through in ways that you never thought of. This is the individual part. What is most excellent is the way it builds up the entire body of Christ. Instead of many individuals bearing weight on our own, we have our God and our community to share the weight. Imagine that weight being lifted our shoulders as we rise up as a community to our true potential as children of God and the body of Christ. We have the fellowship of knowing others are going through the same trials (1 Peter 5:9). Just knowing that someone else has or is going through the same thing has been so comforting to me.
It also enables you to put your focus on others and on God. You have to draw from Him in order to be able to bear their burdens and love them.
“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just something He has laid on my heart.
A good sermon on how to be a good comforter to those who are burdened: http://www.realityla.com/Media/Audio/2010-07-18-how-to-be-good-conforters-128kbps.mp3
A shorter note I wrote: http://www.facebook.com/kurt.germaine?v=app_2347471856#!/note.php?note_id=338467865621