Are You A Burden Bearer?…Carrying Someone’s Burden (Galatians 6:2)
Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
There is no shortage of people in need. Have you ever been so busy in life that you missed the opportunity to do something big in the life of another? We all need help and we are all helpers—that’s part of being human. But what does it look like to help each other well? The people who help best are people who both need help and give help—being able to share their burdens and to bear the burdens of others.
In many cities in the Middle East, carriages or carts were not allowed to enter the city gates, so porters usually had to carry heavy loads on their backs. These men were often chosen from among the poor and were forced to spend long days and nights in back-breaking labor. Often, two porters would walk side-by-side and take turns relieving each other.
So when Jesus told those who were “heavy-laden” to come to Him for rest it was a clear illustration of an everyday struggle (Matthew 11:28). When Paul encouraged the Galatian church to bear one another’s burdens, (Galatians 6:2), it was more than a spiritual truth, it was a way for Christians to practically live out their faith.
The word burden comes from the Greek "baros." It carries the idea of being "weighty or hard to bear." The word bear means to "support or carry." Many times, people have burdens that are simply too much for them to bear alone. To carry each other’s burdens includes helping people in times of sickness, sorrow, concerns, problems, difficult responsibilities, and financial stress. It involves praying earnestly for people as well as helping to meet their needs in tangible, practical ways. To carry another’s burden is a godly quality (Psalm 55:22; I Peter 5:7). Solomon explains that two are better than one. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Just helping someone bear his load goes a long way. Sometimes that is all a person needs in order to get back in fellowship with the Lord. Helping others bear their load is a major part of the ministry of restoration.
Walking alongside someone who is going through hardship means making time for that person, maybe at a child’s ball game, or at church, or over coffee, or during a small group meeting. It means having conversations that go beneath the surface, hearing what’s on his or her heart, and praying for and together with the person. As people who are needed, we can ask to hear our friend’s story. The better you know other people, the more you enjoy, appreciate, pray with, and love them. And the more you love them, the more they will invite you into their lives in times of hardship. Problems are complex, and there will be times when limits to our human gifts, abilities, and experience create the need for co-helpers.
Maybe today you can do something to help lighten someone’s load. Think of someone who is hurting in your church or your community-and think of a way you can do something practical that will help them. Bearing other’s burdens is sometimes more than kind words and sweet notes. It’s rolling up your sleeves and doing something positive to affect their lives. If we are not willing to help others with their problems, then we have no one to whom we can minister.
I want to encourage you today to be sensitive to the needs of others who are around you. When you go to church, go to work, or even spend time with your family and friends, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see when people are carrying too much by themselves. If you discern that they are burdened, go to them and ask, How can I pray for you today? What is happening in your life?
God may use you to bring real relief and freedom into someone’s situation. Perhaps just providing a listening ear is all that is needed to help that person get through his or her dilemma.
On the other hand, if an overwhelming problem, weakness, habit, or sin is pressing down on your life, you need to be humble enough to say, “Hey, I need someone to pray with me! This is too much for me to do completely by myself!” It may be difficult for you to open your heart and reveal your need, but it will be far more difficult for you to carry it alone until you eventually become emotionally devastated by that burden.
As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we need to do everything we can to step deeply into people’s lives in order to encourage and refresh them spiritually and to help them get through their problems. When we see someone struggling, we must be bold enough to ask that person how we can help! When we work together as a body in this way, every need will be addressed and met!
1. Have there been situations in your life when you thought you might break under the weight you were trying to carry by yourself? When that happened, did anyone come to you and ask how he or she might help or pray for your needs?
2. Have you ever gone to others to see how you could help them through the situations they were enduring? Or have you been too self-consumed to remember that other people have needs, too?
3. Do you know of individuals you should check on today to see what you can do to help them through a situation they are facing? In what ways can you be a strength or an encouragement to them?
Prayer, Lord, I am asking You to help me be sensitive to the needs of other people. Help me to stop being so self-consumed with my own concerns that I am negligent in recognizing the needs of people around me who need help and prayer. Holy Spirit, help me see through the masks people tend to wear to cover up what is really happening in their lives. Give me the wisdom to know how to approach people who need strength and encouragement. I pray this in Jesus’ name! Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.