Tag Archives: carry

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.

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

Take Up The Cross – Who Me?

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Israel Batch 1 (888)” by User:MattesOwn work.

You want me
to carry that?
To take it,
who knows where
or when?

It looks really rather uncomfortable.
I will look a fool.
It’s not my style.
What about splinters?
It will make me so tired.
It’s cumbersome.
It will slow me down.
Everyone will see
and know.

Are you sure
I need to pick it up and carry it?

Isn’t there an easier way?
Somehow more comfortable?
Less visible?

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Matthew 16:24-28

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 25 If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it.26 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?

27 The Son of Man will soon come in the glory of his Father and with his angels to reward all people for what they have done. 28 I promise you that some of those standing here will not die before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.

Forgive me Lord,
the times I want the easy way,
the less embarrassing way,
the way with less pain
or inconvenience.

For I want to follow you,
the way you call me to,
and lead me through.

Help me Lord
to forget myself
and follow you

Putting on a Good Show

They say,

Do not judge your neighbour until you walk two moons in his moccasins.

You do not know what the reality of someone’s life is.  You only know the bit they allow you to see, and many of us are expert at “putting on a good face”

Galatians 6:1-16

Help Each Other

My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.

If you think you are better than others, when you really aren’t, you are wrong. Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others. We each must carry our own load.

Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said.

You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life. Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up. 10 We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord.

Final Warnings

11 You can see what big letters I make when I write with my own hand.

12 Those people who are telling you to get circumcised are only trying to show how important they are. And they don’t want to get into trouble for preaching about the cross of Christ. 13 They are circumcised, but they don’t obey the Law of Moses. All they want is to brag about having you circumcised. 14 But I will never brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned.

15 It doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or not. All that matters is that you are a new person.

16 If you follow this rule, you will belong to God’s true people. God will treat you with undeserved kindness and will bless you with peace.

The writer to the Galatians reminds us not to think we are better than others – because if we do, we’re wrong!  We are to worry about our work, and let others worry about their own.  We are not to spend out time and energy comparing how we are doing with how we think others are doing.  Firstly, we will no doubt be wrong, because we don’t know all their circumstances; and secondly, it is not our business, but theirs.  We are responsible for how we carry our load.  They are responsible for theirs – not us.  And whatever we think – we cannot fool God – who actually knows…

Our role here is not to follow our own selfish desires and whims – but to help others.  Not to criticise or judge how they carry their load – but to help them.  It’s not about the right show, but truly doing the right thing – when others are looking and when they are not.

We have done nothing worthy of bragging about – there is only what God has done in us.  None of it is our doing, but his generosity and goodness to us.

So we look not at what we think we’ve achieved, or what we consider others haven’t, but what God is doing in each one of us – and we give thanks.

Forgive me Lord,
for the times I have felt myself to be better,
when I have thought I was doing the right thing,
whilst wondering about others.

Help me to remember
that I do not know the truth of their lives,
I don’t see what you see.

May my focus be only on living for you
and helping others carry the loads they bear,
that together we may live as your people