January 13, 2021
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
This past Sunday one of our pastors shared a wonderful story from his childhood. It’s one of the best illustrations of “bearing one another’s burdens” I’ve ever heard.
As a young teen, the pastor was part of a group on a camping hike, each boy bearing a backpack of supplies. One of the boys lagged badly behind, incurring the wrath of his fellow campers. The team groused about him amongst themselves and occasionally yelled at him to keep up. Finally one young man went to the lagging boy and offered to trade. “Let’s switch backpacks,” he said. “I’ll carry yours, and you carry mine.” So they traded.
Soon the gracious young man discovered why his teammate was struggling so much. “Man, this backpack is heavy!” he said to himself. “It’s way heavier than mine…” After another short distance he discovered something else: “Hey, guys, the straps on this backpack are really thin, they dig into my shoulders and hurt like crazy. No wonder he was going so slow – I can barely keep up!”
That’s the beauty of bearing one another’s burdens: When we do, we learn what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. We learn what it’s like to be them, to experience what they experience, and to carry the weights of life they carry. Suddenly we see with eyes of understanding rather than eyes of scorn and accusation. And, often unexpectedly, we learn the weights of others are perhaps heavier and more painful than we thought.
In this sin-drenched, broken world, we have to remember that life is simply not easy, for anyone. Every one of us – big or small, rich or poor, popular or outcast – all bear burdens. And until we bear the burdens of others we just don’t know what those burdens are like. We may think we do, but we really don’t.
What are the burdens your family, friends and others in your community carry today? What assumptions do you make about those burdens? Being honest with yourself, do you tend to react with grace and humility, or (like the camper) do you jump toward accusation and judgment?
Let’s join together today to thank God that He did not react with scorn at our own “lagging behind” in life. Instead, God sent Jesus in grace and humility to bear our burden of sin on the cross! Thank you, Jesus, for letting us carry the lighter backpack!