By Lewis Willis
Is there anyone who would deny that life imposes upon us many burdens? Sometimes we are frustrated by them. Occasionally someone is broken by them, i.e., they are overwhelmed with burdens which break their spirit. It often appears that some try to ignore their own burdens, and they certainly do not want to be troubled by the burdens of others. It is not unusual to see someone borrow burdens from others quite unnecessarily and fruitlessly. Christians recognize and accept the fact of burdens and seek to use them to develop strong character that will not only sustain us, but will enable us to assist others.
The Bible discusses burdens, and it identifies three different kinds of burdens. This article will discuss these different Bible views of burdens.
1. There are burdens we must bear alone. These are personal burdens which we, and we alone, must accept and discharge. One of the truly amazing developments in our time is the attitude that I can look to the government and the government will take care of me. There are times and circumstances where governments sustain an obligation to help temporarily. However, each one individually must accept the responsibility for providing his own needs and those of his family (1 Tim. 5:8). No society will ever reach optimum effectiveness until the members of that society accept the obligation to “carry their own weight.” The duty is set forth in the New Testament in these words, “For every man shall bear his own burden” (Gal. 6:5).
What are some of these personal burdens which we must each bear alone? The material necessities of life obviously fall in this category. However, there are great spiritual burdens that are unique. Every person bears alone the burden of choosing between things that are right or wrong. We each bear the burden of the guilt and consequence of our sin, It is evident that the burdens of death and eternal judgment are borne by self, and self alone.
2. We must often bear the burdens of others. Paul wrote, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). He further wrote, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom. 15:1). The well-being of those around us must never become a matter of indifference, enabling us to ignore their circumstance. The Bible makes no provision which justifies selfishness in such matters. In a real, practical sense, we are our brother’s keeper (Gen. 4:9).
God expects us to strengthen each other by prayer and deeds. We are to cooperate and be at peace with each other within the church. We are to be compassionate and sympathize with those who suffer. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice. We are to comfort the bereaved. H. Leo Boles once wrote, “Make people glad you are living and they will be sorry when you are dead.”
3. There are burdens which we are to cast on the Lord. David said, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psa. 55:22). The Apostle Peter said, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). The simplicity of this process reflects the wisdom of God. We deliver all of our burdens into the care of God. We then do everything we can for ourselves, and accept the assistance of others when it is necessary. Having done so, we do not fret and worry ourselves, for such is useless. AD old song says, “Take it to the Lord in prayer.” When this has been done, and every human effort has been made, leave the rest with the Lord who cares for us. Why worry over something beyond our ability to handle? A Reader’s Digest quote (6/91) says, “Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime, and too tired to worry at night.” If we will deliver our burdens to the Lord, it will deliver us from the vanities of worry and anxiety.
The Bible does not promise us that every situation we encounter will provide us with the solution we desire. Through the introduction of sin into society, human life was plagued with difficulty. Often we can work around some of these problems, and we should. We, and our friends and brethren, should work together and assist each other in achieving the best possible solution to these hardships. However, we must recognize that there are things that we cannot change. These must be delivered to God for whatever action he chooses. When these things have been done, we must accept whatever life brings. It is futile to worry and frustrate ourselves with things over which we have no control.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 22, p. 682
November 21, 1991