Bearing Each Other’s Burdens

31 Oct

(The following excerpt is taken from “Retail Ready: 90 Devotions for Teens in the Workforce”, available for purchase on Kindle for $7.99 or in print from Amazon for $9.99.)

Read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

It was a slow afternoon in late October and I was sitting at the check stands pondering whether I should complete the remaining tasks on the “to do” list or leave them for another day.  I can’t say for certain that I remember coming to a conclusion on the matter, since my meditations were interrupted by a gentleman seeking to purchase three cubic feet of potting soil.  “I can’t lift it, so would you bring it in here for me?”

I told him that I would and speedily ran to the next room to retrieve the requested product.  Lofting the rather large, clumsy bag onto my shoulder, I headed back towards the check stands.  Before I made it to the door, however, I was stopped by another gentleman with a list of urgent enquiries.  There being no particularly polite way to excuse myself, I quickly answered each question, then turned once more towards the checkstands.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” he said, laughing and pointing to the bag I was holding.  “The fellow who wants it is with us, so you have plenty of time to answer a few more questions for me.”

For the next ten minutes, I toted the potting soil around on my shoulder as I answered what appeared to be an unending stream of questions.

What I found most amusing about the situation was that this gentleman (who apparently couldn’t lift the potting soil for his friend) didn’t seem to care at all about how much it weighed when I was the one carrying it.

Unfortunately, many times, as a Christian, I have been equally guilty of failing to recognize the weight of others burdens.  Absorbed in my own trials and struggles, I have been unwilling to take the time necessary to understand and support those who have also been called in Christ.  Perhaps because human nature does turn so readily towards self-centeredness, God has commanded that we pay close attention to the needs of our brothers and sisters in the faith – then act in such a way as to ease their load!

Challenge: How are you doing when it comes to recognizing and bearing the burdens of other believers?  This week, take the time to observe those around you.  Listen to their trials and frustrations, then commit to help them carry the load!

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8 Responses to “Bearing Each Other’s Burdens”

  1. Delinda McCann (@CalicoGardens) May 30, 2012 at 09:03 #

    Good work

  2. J May 30, 2012 at 11:05 #

    Anna,
    Great post. I have a question. The phrase, no good deed goes unpunished, has been on my mind a great deal lately while I help care for elderly in-laws and raising a troubled teen granddaughter. The three of them become so negative and border on abuse. When do you finally say, I can’t do this anymore?

    • acgheen May 30, 2012 at 12:13 #

      J,

      Thanks for the reply. I think that the “I can’t do this” point varies from one person (or personality) to the next and even from one situation to another. (Have you ever noticed how that “snapping” point always seems to come sooner with family members than it does with our friends or neighbors?)

      Two things have particularly helped me in regard to knowing when to say “enough”. The first (and, for myself, the hardest) is being willing to admit that I’m approaching the breaking point before I’m actually at the breaking point. (As someone who doesn’t like to admit weakness, real or perceived, I have a tendency to wait until I’m about to come unglued before I say anything. And I’ve have had to learn that by the time I’ve reached that point – I’ve already let things go too far.) By acknowledging my limits in advance, I’m better able to address the situation calmly and rationally with others – often avoiding any serious conflict.

      Secondly, you can’t downplay the value of time spent in prayer, both on your own and with a reliable prayer partner. There are some situations which just can’t be reasonably addressed with the people involved. At such times, just knowing that someone has your back and truly understands what you’re going through can make an huge difference in your ability to stay the course (vs. getting committed). 🙂

      Also, keep in mind that stress can eat us up from the inside out. Make sure that you’re eating well and regularly and that you’re getting plenty of sleep (this may mean more than 8 hours a night) and regular exercise (you may have to intentionally block out time for this, but I know that even a 10 or 15 minute walk can make an huge difference in my own outlook). Oft times, our mental and emotional breaking points are tied to our physical condition just as closely as they are tied to our spiritual condition.

      I hope that this helps. I will be keeping you in my prayers. Hang in there and remember that “God never takes us to a situation that He isn’t faithful to take us through”!

      Blessings,

      A. C.

  3. Peggi Tustan May 30, 2012 at 18:12 #

    I like your illustration, Anna. Whether or not we are able to help, sometimes just acknowledging that the other person is bearing a burden is an encouragement to them. Letting them know we see them, we care what is happening, and letting them talk about it. Thanks for the reminder not to be so “me” focused.

  4. mickipeluso (@mickipeluso) May 30, 2012 at 21:16 #

    Very thoughtful piece. I like to think of myself as a caretaker for my fellow humans–from friends to strangers. Carrying around that load that you did was a visual imprint of how much I do carry–but it’s a work of love and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for an enlightening piece.

  5. Sandra McLeod Humphrey May 31, 2012 at 10:32 #

    Absolutely beautiful post and I love the image of your toting the bag to illustrate your point. I like to think of my ministry as being that of an encourager–whether it be through my books, my ministry with our Sunday school and confirmation students, or through my frequent notes and cards. Again, beautiful post!

  6. Kimberly McPherson June 2, 2012 at 15:20 #

    Anna, as always, wonderful post. You always find a way to inspire me with your words (his words). I love the illustration you used to get the point across. I will take this challenge to heart and for the next week, no, for the next year I will do what I can to help others bear their load. Thank you again!
    Much love and abundant blessings,
    Kimmy
    http://www.withoutalabel.me

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