What Does it Mean to Bear One Another's Burdens?
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2 ESV).
"Cheryl, you are a pastor's wife. You're homeschooling your children and teaching ladies Bible study. You've just had your fourth baby! You are constantly exercising hospitality by hosting missionary families and groups for lunch almost every Sunday.
"My admiration for you just continues to grow!"
We were standing on the steps outside the stately old church building; I was wearing a lovely floral dress my mother-in-law had bought for me, and eight-year-old Hannah, six-year-old Daniel, and four-year-old Abigail were standing at my feet wearing their Sunday best. I may not have had time for breakfast that morning, but I made sure I had my makeup applied and my hair brushed and clipped back with a lovely barrette.
I wondered if the man delivering the compliment could hear my stomach growling as I shifted the handle of the baby carrier from side to side. It grew heavier by the minute, with little one-month-old Joseph snuggled inside.
I wanted to burst into tears and tell him I was an imposter and that things weren't how they appeared. But instead, I flashed my warm smile and hoped he would overlook the pain behind my eyes.
Just a few short months after that morning on the church steps, the near-perfect health I had experienced for most of my life took a nosedive. The seizures, chronic fatigue, and muscle weakness began with a vengeance. Striving to prove myself through ministry as a pastor's wife and homeschooling mom was zapping me physically, spiritually, and emotionally and I didn't even recognize it.
What about you? Has serving and pleasing others left you burned out and at your breaking point? When you finally have time away with your family or friends, is your mind on your to-do list the entire time?
False Burden Bearing
Part of the reason I was burned out and broken was that I was carrying burdens not meant for me to hold. I used Scripture like Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2 ESV) to support my pleasing people by striving to meet needs. Thinking I was fulfilling the law of Christ, summarized in the two greatest commandments to love God and love neighbor, I was constantly taking on people's physical or emotional demands.
Biblical burden bearing is coming alongside someone and lifting one of their arms to help ease the weight of their load. It doesn't mean taking the burden from them and then being crushed under the weight of it.
Biblical Burden Bearing
But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun (Exodus 17:12 ESV).
We see Biblical burden-bearing in Israel's battle with the Amalekites. Moses allows Aaron and Hur to come alongside him and hold up his arms in battle. As Moses receives their support, God provides the strength to lead the Israelites to victory.
Friend, are you carrying burdens that are not yours to carry? I encourage you to kneel in prayer, hold out your arms, and then lay the load at the foot of the cross.
How may I come alongside you and lift one of your arms in prayer amid whatever battle you are facing?
Father, comfort and strengthen the one reading this today with the truth that burdens are lifted at Calvary! Your redeeming love removed our load and placed it on Your Son. Give us truly grateful hearts and may we be Your hands and feet this day. For you tell 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 you souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30) In Jesus' Name, Amen