“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
We were never designed to “do life” alone. From the beginning, we were designed with a need for other people in our lives. Ultimately, of course, it is God himself who supplies all our needs, in and through Jesus Christ; and, very often, He will use other people in our lives to meet those needs.
He knits things together marvelously, in order to uphold His promise to provide each of His children exactly what they need for each day.
My whole life, I used this verse as justification for helping others whenever I could which, of course, is right and good, seeing as how it’s part of Jesus’ command that we love one another. However, I was giving and doing and carrying for others, while I struggled under my own burdens, alone.
I worried about depending on others too much, which is a valid concern, as I never want to lose sight of God My Provider, from whom every good and perfect gift comes. From the food on my table to the luxury of family photos to the unconditional generosity of friends; it all comes from Him.
I think this is a worry we all share, as believers. We know that we do not stand before God collectively to give account. We each stand before Him alone. I think this worry has been twisted out of shape in the Church, to our detriment.
I learned this about myself when I became pregnant.
I wouldn’t ask for help, despite a very long, hard struggle with morning sickness. Thankfully, God put friends in my life who almost literally forced their way in and, in the name of Jesus, carried my burdens with me. I felt ashamed that I needed such help, and I was ashamed to ask for it. I was more than willing to help anyone who asked, but when it came to my needs, I thought I had to figure it out and do it all for myself.
I thought that to ask for help showed weakness.
Do you know what? I was right.
Whether I like it or not, I am not strong enough, in and of myself, to live this life alone and unassisted.
I need help, and when I cry out to God for help, it is almost always through another person that my help comes.
That’s not to say that I need to actively seek out another person every time a need comes up. Instead, if I take my need, and place it where it belongs – in the hands of God – I am more free to recognize the help in whatever form the Lord sends it. Also, I am more likely to accept the help from a heart of humble gratitude instead of grudging acceptance.
It has taken me a long time to learn to humbly ask for help when I need it, and to learn to allow others to bless me in whatever way the Lord leads them.
Now, I am all about offering payment or trading for services and help, but if I am told “Don’t worry about it,” I’ve learned not to push payment on someone who genuinely doesn’t want it. After all, I can turn right around and ask God to bless them for their loving generosity – and He knows, far better than I, how to pay them back. Not to mention that God always seems to provide ways for me to “pay it forward,” which is incredible. It’s a wonderful cycle in the Body of Christ, when it works the way it should!
So, while we should always be open to helping those around us carry their burdens, because it fulfills the law of Christ; it is also necessary for us to allow others to help us carry our own burdens. The only thing that keeps us from doing so is pride. Abominable pride.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” ~Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
It is wise to accept help from the people God puts into our lives. It teaches us humility. It sets up defenses around our hearts against the enemy’s temptations to pride. Humility and pride cannot coexist in the same heart, and we would do well to listen to the wisdom that comes from humility.
Just remember that humility is our destination, and that we’ll each get there one step at a time, as long as we place our trust in Jesus instead of our own efforts.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. … This is my command: Love each other.”
~John 15:1-17 (Click link to read entire passage. Emphasis mine.)
Love one another. Carry each other’s burdens. Let others do the same for us – if we do not, we rob them of their chance, this moment, to come a little closer to the Lord in their own walk. We cheapen their desire to obey Christ. We’re not allowing them to be the friend they want to be. That is not loving.
I’m here to say emphatically, that this principle works. I’ve lived it, and now I’m encouraging you to live it too. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to be known for our love, one for another. Start by letting someone in.
Start small. Pick up the phone and ask a trusted friend to simply pray for you. Accept the offer of a favor. Let your neighbor be a neighbor and help you with a project. Ask someone for advice. The more you allow others in the Body to bless you, the more opportunities you’ll have to bless others – and not be burdened in the process with “one more thing.”
After all, Jesus promised that His burden would be easy to bear, compared to what life and the world can throw at us! This is part of that promise.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Understand that living this out will also enable us to find a balance in our lives that is much easier to maintain (remember the burden of Jesus being light? Yeah. This is part of what that means). Life and its decisions don’t feel quite so precarious when we become part of an interdependent, unified family, instead of being a lone ranger on the fringes – always available to others, but never needing a thing (or so we think).
Being one with each other is about give-and-take. Not “take” in the selfish sense, but “take” in the sense of receiving a gift. So, I suppose it’s more of a “give-and-receive” thing. We only have so much to give. Receiving allows us to keep our reservoirs full; and it enables us to more freely pay those blessings forward. It’s a beautiful thing when the Body works the way our Head designed it to.
Have you let someone else help you carry your burdens today? If not, what’s stopping you?