Help Carry Burdens

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Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

This is a powerful statement. It is at the core of the Christian message. We are not here for ourselves, but for others. This is, of course, easy when we are talking about our families and our dearest friends, but that is not the end of law of Christ. As Christians we are to serve all of God’s people, those that we know and love, those that are “beautiful” and those that are not, as well as those who are not like us at all. Christ came for all. So must we live for all.

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Christians are called, in faith, to bear the burdens of others willingly, without expecting anything in return. The reward for one who serves God by serving others cannot be measured in praise, or awards, or honors, nor in the number of Facebook friends, or Twitter followers one has. The satisfaction a Christian experiences in answering this call, is known only in the privacy of one’s own heart and mind. The interior soul, the conscience, knows that, in serving the needs of others, whether they be great or small, one has loved as Jesus loved. The merits are spiritual, not material. My father used to say that when one freely responded to the needs of another, and helped the other bear his or her burdens, one was “earning another jewel in one’s crown.” These “jewels” are known to God and the self alone. There are no public kudos given, nor are any needed. It is enough to have acted out of a free and willing love for the other. The rest is all God’s grace. When we act in this way it is because we have agreed in our hearts and souls to be used as conduits of his grace to the needy other. Love is God’s great gift to us. Jesus showed us what love looks like. Though he was God, he gave away everything and bore the aweful weight of our burdens in his own body on the Cross. This is the Law of Christ. “Love one another as I have loved you…” (John 13:34-35)

In acting in this manner we express our love for God in the fullest and most profound of ways. Compassion is at the heart of God’s love. It is also at the heart of a humble soul. Let us, then, be compassionate, and bear one another’s burdens in humble and loving obedience to the beautiful, life-giving law of Christ.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.