Bulletin Article for September 12, 2021
Church of Christ-Rockville
4221 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield, CA 94534
Dwight Bowerman –church of Christ-Rockville, Fairfield, CA
Each and every one of us must recognize that burdens are a necessary part of life. Some of the burdens we face, we must face individually, while other burdens we may share. For those burdens that we must individually face, Paul says in Galatians 6:5, “Each one will bear his own load.” When we look up the term “burden” it is described as some kind of load that must be carried. The dictionary definition is something that may in fact be quite heavy. When we think of a burden, some think it’s like a pack which a solider has to be carry. There’s an old phrase which says, “For everyone must shoulder his own pack.” The pack that is spoken of here is something that belongs exclusively to an individual. This burden doesn’t come with an easy way to carry it. It doesn’t come with its own helping hands to bear it. And an individual’s burden is non-transferable – in other words, it cannot be pushed off onto another person, and neither can it be delegated to some organization or institution – including the Lord’s church. Even when the church is doing its work at its very best, in no way does this lighten the burden which God says each man must bear.
Accordingly, then, the obligations each of us have concerning personal evangelism, growing in the faith, living exemplary lives, conquering our own personal temptations, individual faithfulness, and other such things are “packs” that must be borne by every single Christian. Our responsibilities of discipleship, even though properly referred to as burdens, are not burdensome. When we offer the Lord’s great invitation, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Serving the Lord should be no more oppressive to the Christian than for a father to provide for his own family. Love makes such burdens light. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.” And the apostle John tells us in 1John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not burdensome.” You see God’s commandments are not burdens to those who love Him. No burden borne that is borne in love becomes heavy and oppressive. But no burden – no matter how light it may be – isn’t felt as heavy as when borne reluctantly and without love. Recall the tender scene depicting a small boy caring another little boy on his back and saying, “He ain’t heavy—he’s my brother!” Wouldn’t the cause of Christ be more prosperous if every Christian would shoulder their own pack with this same attitude?
On the other hand, there are burdens that may be shared with others. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” This kind of burden is different. This burden (Cr. baros) is that which is heavy and can be burdensome. Generally speaking, this is any burden that may be properly relieved or lightened by the help of others— a burden with handles. Opportunities to help with such burdens are limitless. Weak Christians, for instance, have burdens because of inexperience and not knowing what to do. Certain sins may be difficult for them to overcome. They might need help! They might need sincere encouragement! The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 15:1, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not just please ourselves.” Young people have burdens too. Helping bear their burdens may help some of us to quit being their burden. Jesus said, “ye have the poor always with you” — the rich in faith cannot ignore their burdens. Neither can we shun the sharable burdens of those who are physically or mentally weak, the aged, the lonely, and those who are sorrowed. Concerned hearts cannot have idle hands— the law of Christ will not allow it.
Finally, in the Lord, all men have a caring and unseen helper with which to share their burdens. The apostle Peter wrote in 1Peter 5”6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, having cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares about you.” You see - His invitation is always there: “Come unto me...“