Tag Archives: burden

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Do as I say,
not as I do.
Follow my sense,
not my stupidity.

May I not be a piler of burdens,
making your lot worse;
but a lifter,
a sharer
of the load you have to carry.

When I long to show off,
to make sure everyone sees me
and knows my achievements,
may I show only God –
all you are.

As I feel
that I deserve special treatment,
a little honour
and some appreciation of my worth,
may I treat others in the way
I would like to be treated,
and not worry about me.

You Lord
are my guide,
my teacher,
my leader.
May I follow only your ways.

Not my ways,
not the ways that sound impressive,
but lead only to the putting down of others.

Lord,
always,
may I do
as you say
and as you show.

Matthew 23:1-12 (CEV)

Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law of Moses

23 Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses. So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.

They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help. Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels[a] for everyone to see. They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.

But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. 10 None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader.11 Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others. 12 If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.

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On Not Being a Burden

‘Being a burden’ has to be one of the biggest fears in our society.  We don’t want to reach the place where we can no longer control our own lives.  We don’t want to have to rely on anyone else.  We desperately don’t want to put anyone else out.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 (CEV)

My dear friends, you surely haven’t forgotten our hard work and hardships. You remember how night and day we struggled to make a living, so that we could tell you God’s message without being a burden to anyone. 10 Both you and God are witnesses that we were pure and honest and innocent in our dealings with you followers of the Lord.11 You also know we did everything for you that parents would do for their own children. 12 We begged, encouraged, and urged each of you to live in a way that would honor God. He is the one who chose you to share in his own kingdom and glory.

13 We always thank God that you believed the message we preached. It came from him, and it isn’t something made up by humans. You accepted it as God’s message, and now he is working in you.

Paul seems to make a big thing here about not having been a burden to the Thessalonians.  He is keen that they know that he was making his own living, not relying on them for income.

This is interesting.  Historically and generally the Methodist Church pays its ministers a stipend.  This is not a wage, but money paid to you so that you can meet living expenses without having to do other work, in essence so that you are free to fulfil your calling – a calling that the church has set you apart for.  So as someone who has lived off a stipend in the past, I have a bit of an uncomfortable wriggle in my seat at this point.  Though I hope I was no burden and fulfilled my calling!  I was also very grateful that was the case and realise how fortunate I was to be freed in such a way.

Anyway, I digress from the point.  This passage made me think about being a burden.  Specifically, are there times in which I am a burden to my community?  As someone with chronic illness, I can easily perceive myself as a burden.  I need help and lots of it, I rely on other people to do things that I would much rather prefer to be able to do for myself, I can’t offer all I long to. But I hope that is not truly being a burden and is incorporated as being part of a healthy community.

But are there other ways I can be a burden?  Being unhelpful?  Dragging others down by my attitude?  Being bolshy (a particular specialism of mine!)?   Not doing what I could?  Not sharing what I have?  Not letting others help me, when it would help them to do so?  Being protective of my gifts?  Letting others get on with things without helping?  Thinking I’m a special case?  I’m sure the list could go on.  These are ways of being a burden that are choices.  Decisions that make anyone a weight or a carrier of weight.

Am I a burden on my community?  On my church fellowship?  On the world?  Am I weighing down when I should be lifting up?  Expecting others to carry me, when I should be doing the carrying?  Or can I stand before God and his people in the knowledge that I do all I can in the best way I can for the service of him and the world?

We are called to be burden bearers, not burden makers.

Forgive me Lord,
the times I have got in the way,
held things back,
dragged things down
and not pulled my weight.

Forgive me when I have been a burden
to you,
your work,
my community
and ultimately myself.

Lord,
I want to be a burden bearer.
Show me how I can carry the weights of others,
the needs of my community,
the burdens of your world.

You are the great burden-bearer
who carries all our weights,
may I find my strength in you

The Joy of Forgiveness

What an awesome Psalm – the weight of the burden of our sin, and the God who can take it away.

How blessed am I

Psalm 32

(A special psalm by David.)

The Joy of Forgiveness

32 Our God, you bless everyone
    whose sins you forgive
    and wipe away.
You bless them by saying,
    “You told me your sins,
without trying to hide them,
    and now I forgive you.”

Before I confessed my sins,
my bones felt limp,
    and I groaned all day long.
Night and day your hand
    weighed heavily on me,
    and my strength was gone
    as in the summer heat.

So I confessed my sins
    and told them all to you.
    I said, “I’ll tell the Lord
    each one of my sins.”
Then you forgave me
    and took away my guilt.

We worship you, Lord,
    and we should always pray
whenever we find out
    that we have sinned.
    Then we won’t be swept away
    by a raging flood.
You are my hiding place!
    You protect me from trouble,
and you put songs in my heart
    because you have saved me.

You said to me,
“I will point out the road
    that you should follow.
I will be your teacher
    and watch over you.
Don’t be stupid
    like horses and mules
    that must be led with ropes
    to make them obey.”

10 All kinds of troubles
    will strike the wicked,
    but your kindness shields those
    who trust you, Lord.
11 And so your good people
    should celebrate and shout.