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Friday, 24 March 2017

"You Don't Have To Bear Your Burdens Alone"

Your Hearts Delight display
Sample Display at "Your Hearts Delight"

"You Don't Have To Bear Your Burdens Alone"

"Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). "Pray for one another" (James 5:16).

You've done well at hiding the pain in your life
You've hidden the sorrow that haunts you each night
But if there is something that you need to share
I want you to know someone cares

Your Hearts Delight displayWe have a new ministry opportunity in our chaplain service at a company in rural Lebanon County. "Your Heart's Delight" is a wholesale distributor of home decor items, the kind you might see in gift shops. They ship products all over but also have a walk-in warehouse for wholesale buyers. Areas are set up with attractive displays like our lead photo. We are blessed in each of the companies we serve to provide care to the employees but Brooksyne especially enjoys the "scenery" as we walk through this massive warehouse!

An opportunity unique to us in this company is the voluntary prayer gathering held a few minutes each morning with about 25 employees choosing to participate. When we make our weekly visit we share a brief devotional message so Tuesday morning I walked in with a message prepared but then I saw a sign that prompted me to change my message.

I held up the sign up and it read: "There is no better exercise than to reach down and pick someone up". I acknowledged that physically bending over isn't an exercise I take delight in so much anymore as my waistline
is sort of in the way, but I do take delight in the exercise of reaching down and lifting up one's spirit.

Carry burdensSome churches still have a time of "Prayer and Praise" where the congregation is given an opportunity to tell of the way God is working in their lives or they share their need so others can pray for them.

What a privilege it is to receive prayerful support from caring believers when our hearts are heavily laden with troubles. We bear our burdens to others while also bearing the burdens of others. It's part of a healthy church. As a congregation we seek to fulfill the two Scripture portions at the top of today's message, a mandate that is intended for all believers; bearing one another's burdens as we uplift one another in prayer.

At times life seems unfair and so hard to stand
You reach out for someone just to hold to your hand
Just remember the words of our Savior are true
His promise: "I will never leave you"

Generally speaking, when we bear other's burdens it's usually based on personal knowledge and is relationship-oriented, though we are often seeking God on behalf of people undergoing tragedy or difficulty we've not personally met. We must be cautious lest we become callous in regard to the burdens people bear in which we can't personally relate. In this age of instant information we are flooded with tragedies around the world such as earthquakes, bombings, murders, wars, etc. I want my heart to be compassionate and soft so I can pray for and appropriately respond to the hurts of others when possible, whether they be local or in a distant land, whether it's something I've experienced or may never endure.

Your Hearts Delight display

Likely Paul's counsel to the Galatians to "Bear one another's burdens", this was in regard to the specific burdens that fellow believers in that particular body were experiencing. But surely it pleases the Lord when we take an interest and bear the burdens of hurting humanity. In doing so we "fulfill the law of Christ".  (This is the only time in Scripture this phrase is used.)

Many years ago I recall standing before our congregation in New England and asking, "How can we, in praying for one another, be fulfilling a call to glorify God as a church body?" Several thoughtfully responded:

1)  We express our dependency on God, which is a fundamental aspect of faith.
2)  We obey God's call as expressed in the daily Scripture portions I have used today.
3)  We show our genuine love and care for others.
4)  We encourage and strengthen the weary, burdened soul.

Consider this note from an online commentary: "Bear one another’s burdens" When Paul brought up the idea of the one overtaken in any trespass, it painted the picture of a person sagging under a heavy load. Here he expanded the idea to encourage every Christian to bear one another’s burdens.

1. The focus isn’t on “expect others to bear your burdens.” That is self-focused, and always leads to pride, frustration, discouragement, and depression. Instead, God always directs us to be others-focused, and says, “Bear one another’s burdens.”

2. This is a simple command to obey. Look for a brother or a sister with a burden, and help them with it. It isn’t complicated, and it doesn’t take a huge program or infrastructure to do it. Just look for a burden to bear and bear it.

3. “Notice the assumption which lies behind this command, namely that we all have burdens and that God does not mean for us to carry them alone.” (John Stott)

Whose burden are you bearing today? Who can you pray for? It won't take long to identify real people in your life who need your prayers. Let's follow up our prayers with personal contact that brings encouragement. Aren't you blessed when someone informs you, "I prayed for you this morning…." or "The Lord laid this Scripture verse on my heart that I would like to share with you…."

I have often had the weight of my heavy burdens lifted in this manner and I do well to help lift others' burdens in that same spirit. I want to be motivated by God's love and be His representative to one who needs to experience comfort and assurance from God.

You don't have to bear your burdens alone
You've got a friend; you're not on your own
Just take my hand, and we'll find help at the throne
You don't have to bear your burdens alone

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber



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