Blessings of the body

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

Life is hard. We were not meant to go it alone. God made a community, a group of people pulled out of the world to be united together. We are the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24), and we are to encourage and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

A few years ago we began meeting together on Tuesdays for a meal. We called it TNT. I first wrote about it here. Though interrupted for a time, we are coming together and eating together again.

But we have moved beyond simply eating and talking individually. After the meal has been eaten, we gather for prayer. We pray not just for the infirm, we share our own needs, our own weaknesses. We “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). We bear one another’s burdens.

We readily share the needs of others, but asking for our own needs can be difficult. When was the last time you answered the invitation? But once that initial awkwardness has been conquered, great encouragement can be found. God’s plan for his people includes being part of a family who shares with each other the burdens they are carrying.

Life in Christ’s community is not utopian. We may irritate, fail, or hurt another. Scripture speaks often of how to conduct ourselves with grace and patience toward each other for that reason. Yet there is strength even in our weaknesses (see 2 Corinthians 12:10), as we look to Christ and become more like him (Philippians 2:5; Colossians 3:10; Galatians 4:19).

Recently my son’s bike was stolen. Our neighbors see him riding and doing tricks every day. He was quite saddened by that. I wrote about it on social media hoping for its return. Two brothers in Christ who saw it sent money for a new bike. One said, “If someone is going to try to steal his joy, I’m going to help him get it back.” Neither would allow me to dissuade them.

I would never share their names, but I will thank them again here. While a stolen bike pales in comparison to what so many are dealing with, God’s people step up in big and small ways.

I was having a hard day Sunday afternoon. As my own failings and the doubts of my effectiveness hit me, I remembered how good it is to be a small part of the body of Christ. I remembered the tears of sadness and joy shed for others. I remembered the selfless serving of so many. I remembered my boy’s smile when I told him he would get a new bike. I remembered how good it felt to pray for my brothers and sisters.

This will be posted on Tuesday. Tonight I will gather with some of my fellow travelers. We will share a meal, we will open our hearts, and we will bear one another’s burdens. When we bear the burdens of others, ours can be lifted as well.

How can I help bear yours?

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