Bearing Each Other’s Burdens by Randy Rowley 9/16/11 ©


Galatians 6:2 (NASB) says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”  Paul painted the picture of a person wilting under a heavy load.  His emphasis wasn’t “Expect others to bear your burdens” because that’s self-focused.  Such a focus will usually result in frustration and disappointment, as most people won’t meet our needs as we think they should.  Instead, Paul directed the Galatians to others-focus, especially those waning under a heavy load.   We should overlook a brother’s or sister’s shortcomings, as readily as we ignore our own, and look for ways to bear their burdens.

Jesus also commanded us to others-focus in John 13:34-35.  He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

A simple fact of life is we all have burdens.  Jesus guaranteed we would.  In John 16:33 he said, “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.'”  And God doesn’t expect us to bear our burdens alone.  They’re not our “thorn in the flesh” or “cross to bear.”

We did nothing to cause or contribute to a burden in many cases.  For example, lifestyle can partially cause some cancers, but even people living healthy lifestyles contract many cancers.  Paul didn’t say, “Bear the burdens of brothers and sisters who don’t deserve the burden.”  Instead, he instructed us to look for brothers and sisters with any burdens and bear them.

To bear one another’s burdens has been in the FCS bylaws since our second event – a mouflon and Corsican sheep hunt on the Appletree Ranch near Leaky.  Founding member Lee Tunnell championed Galatians 6:2 being one of our cornerstone verses.  Certainly, to participate in FCS, we should love to hunt, fish, shoot, or all three, but we should want to do more than that – we should desire to be there for our brothers and sisters in their hours of need if we can and to the extent we can.

Over the years we have had some successes in bearing each other’s burdens, mainly through praying for each other and helping each other out, such as helping members move, roofing a house, installing a water heater, and meeting financial needs.  However, we’ve had some failures as well.

Some of those failures are not praying and doing things for each other when we can.  But another failure is our reluctance to share our trials.  Due to macho pride, we men are substantially more reluctant to share our burdens with other Christians than women are.  We fear others will judge or think less of us if we’re honest about our burdens.  This is often because other men have taught us real men stand on their own two feet and don’t seek help from others.  But Proverbs 11:14 (NASB) contradicts that line of thinking.  It says, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

As the leader of our sporting clays shoots for many years, I was used to seeing people come and go.  Sometimes a regular would stop attending for a while, and then, after what kept him from attending concluded, he resumed joining us.

Such a case happened in June.  A regular stopped attending our shoots.  Just as I’d decided to contact him, he rejoined us.  But he had bad news – his wife had divorced him, and he had developed prostate cancer.  I immediately kicked myself for not asking him sooner if he was OK and not being there for him.

Things to consider regarding conveying our burdens with fellow believers and bearing other believers’ burdens:

  • Don’t be an island.  Let a mature Christian know if you’re burdened.  None of us are mind readers, and we can’t help you if we don’t know what’s going on.  But don’t try to take advantage of your brothers and sisters by bearing a burden with the sole motivation of recruiting free labor.  And most of us don’t have the equipment, training, or experience to level houses, fix electrical problems, or find and fix a water leak.
  • If you haven’t seen someone you frequently see for a considerable time, ask how they’re doing.
  • If a brother or sister reveals a burden to you, be ready to help bear it.  Pray right then at the least and regularly afterward.

Do you have a practice of regularly sharing your burdens with your brothers and sisters?  Are you a burden-bearer?  If not, ask God to give you the courage to share and bear.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible Verse of the Day

A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous.