“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
Albert Schweitzer was one of the most famous missionaries of the modern era. He set up a medical clinic in French Equatorial Africa. A friend came to visit him. One morning, this friend Schweitzer and some others were walking up a hill. It was extremely hot. Suddenly the 85 year old Schweitzer walked away from the group. He made his way toward an African woman struggling up the hill with a large load of wood for use in cooking. Schweitzer took the entire load of wood from the woman and carried it up the hill for her. The rest of the group was surprised and concerned that a person of Dr. Schweitzer’s age would strain himself so they asked why he did it. Dr. Schweitzer looked at the group, then pointed to the woman and said, “No one should ever have to carry a burden like that alone.”
Life does not become easy just because you are a Christian. We still have our burdens as you no doubt can attest to. People still hurt you, bosses still exist, tragedies happen to us or the people we love and you can still get tired and depressed. The world will tell you to “suck it up” or other some inspirational advice. But the truth is, we do not need to bear our burdens alone.
The Bible has approximately 55 “one another” statements. One of them is “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 ESV) The NIV version says “carry” while the NLT says “share each other’s burdens.” God encourages us to help bear one another’s burdens, to help one another overcome the pressure and challenges of life.
There is no instruction on what exactly to do or how to “help carry one another’s burdens.” (GNT) But thankfully we have the Holy Spirit. I think in the simplest of terms, bearing another’s burdens means not walking away. Bearing another person’s burdens means we ask questions and we go beyond the “I’m fine” answer. Sometimes the thing to do is just be there, sometimes it’s offering prayer, or to take a task off their hands, or tell them that you care, or to take the time to listen. The Holy Spirit knows what is needed. When we bear one another’s burdens, we are showing others the love and compassion we have been shown and is an indication of what we are about and more importantly, who we are.
What better way to exemplify love to one another, than by helping each other, as we walk together in Christ.
- How do you define burden? How do you define sharing?
- What are the potential “benefits” of bearing one another’s burdens?
- What can we do this week to lift the burden of someone we know?