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.” When Paul made his appeal, he painted the picture of a person wilting under a heavy load.  His focus wasn’t “Expect others to bear your burdens” because that is self-focused.  Such a focus will usually result in frustration and disappointment, as most people will not meet our needs as we think they should.  Instead, Paul directed the Galatians to focus on others, 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.

A simple fact of life is that we all have burdens.  Jesus guaranteed that 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.'”  But God does not expect us to bear our burdens alone.  They are not our “thorn in the flesh” or “cross to bear.”  In many cases, we did nothing to cause or contribute to a burden.  For example, lifestyle can partially cause some cancers, but people living healthy lifestyles contract many cancers.  Paul didn’t say, “Bear the burdens of people who don’t deserve the burden.”  No, we should look for a brother or sister with any burden and help with it.

Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “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.”

To bear one another’s burdens has been in our Club’s bylaws since our second event – a mouflon and Corsican sheep hunt at the Appletree Ranch near Leaky.  Founding member Lee Tunnell championed that Galatians 6:2 should be one of our cornerstone verses.  Certainly, to participate in the Club, we should love to hunt, fish, or shoot, 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.

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 have 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.  We men are much more reluctant to share our burdens with others due to pride.  We fear that others will judge or think less of us if we’re honest about our trials.  Other men have also trained many of us that 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.”

Having led our monthly sporting clays shoots for many years I’m used to seeing people come and go at shoots.  Sometimes a regular will stop coming for a while, and then, after whatever kept him from attending has concluded, he starts attending again.

Such a case happened recently.  A regular shooter stopped coming to our monthly shoots.  Just as I had decided to contact him, he came back.  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.

Things to consider about bearing burdens with fellow believers and bearing other believers’ burdens:

  • Don’t be an island.  If you are facing a trial let a mature Christian know about it.  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 and regularly after that, at the least.

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

Categories : Devotionals

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