Bearing burdens

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV).

It would be difficult to find a more appropriate way for one to begin his new life as a Christian than that which I witnessed recently. A young man was baptized into Christ, and as he was preparing for his obedience, he carried his elderly mother across a field, down a river bank and into the water where she too could be baptized. He took “bear another’s burdens” quite literally.

The older woman was tiny and very frail, yet when she made her confession of faith in Jesus and expressed her desire to put him on in baptism there was commitment and joy in her eyes. Her gratitude to those who taught and assisted her was expressed in tears. No one watching could doubt her conviction of the need for salvation; her awareness of her burden of sin.

And there were her sons. One son, already a Christian for several years, had taught his parents and other family members. It was he who was immersing them, in the water of a local canal just a hundred yards or so from their home. But even that short distance was too far for their mother to walk. So her sons carried her, each taking his turn. Either one could have managed it easily alone, but they took joy in the opportunity to help, so shared the task.

I could not help but think as I watched, that these young men already know a lot of what Christian faith is all about. Yes, there are doctrines to be studied, and proper procedures to be learned. But nothing exceeds the importance of loving one another and bearing each other’s burdens. As much as, if not more than, anything else, Christianity is about helping each other. And it is never too early in one’s Christian life to begin.

Jesus came to this world to save sinners (Luke 19:10). That is to say, he came to help ailing humanity. We have many problems. We are unable to solve them alone. But Jesus is our friend and helper. But not only that, he also is our example, so that we are encouraged to do for others as he has done for us (John 13:15). That is our task on this earth, to serve him by serving those whom he loves (Matthew 25:40; 1 John 4:11).

Paul’s instructions in Galatians 6:2 are clear and emphatic. To bear the burden’s of others fulfills the law of Christ. It is not just a suggestion or a good idea. It is law – that is, it is a command of God. We must seek to help others. This may involve benevolence, physical care, or giving comfort. It may involve teaching the lost about Jesus, or correcting someone who is in error (Galatians 6:1). There are many needs, and many ways that needs may be met. We all have different abilities and different resources and opportunities. But there are ways in which each can be of service to others.

There are many burdens to be borne. There are more than enough for each of us. Others have helped us; let us now do what we can do for someone else.

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