In Galatians 6 we read these words of the Apostle Paul: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
It could be said that in the Christian life there are two kinds of burdens that will be experienced.
The first, which Paul is speaking most immediately of, is that of the burden of sin. He says that when a brother or sister is struggling in sin, we are to restore them in a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1). We must not leave them to drown in the destructive pit of guilt and shame, but carry them to the light of Christ’s forgiveness.
The second kind of burden would be that of various weaknesses – whether it be bodily sickness, providential afflictions, grief, depression, relational or financial strains, or any other heavy thing.
If the church is one Body, which it is, then the various burdens present in this room right now are all of ours to bear, in order that we may fulfill the law of Christ, which is love. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, if one member suffers, all the members suffer – for when one part of the body hurts, the whole body is affected (1 Cor. 12:26). Likewise Scripture tells us to remember those in chains, as though we were in chains with them (Heb. 13:3). Why? Again – because we are all members of one Body.
Now given all of this, consider the common phrase that we have all heard or even thought ourselves in our own hearts – “I just don’t want to be a burden.”
While it is certainly a good to desire to stand on your own two feet by the grace of God, the fact is if you have a significant and heavy burden, you must not bear it alone. You must not be too proud to let others help. For it is not just the duty of the church to care for one another – but it ought to be our strong desire and delight.
If you are in genuine need, if the Lord has worked a weakness in your life, if you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water in this season – you need the church. It is through many tribulations that we enter the kingdom of God. But we must never go through them alone.
Shawn Paterson – October 8, 2023