Have you ever had a full car of groceries, or a full bag of books, or a big suitcase you tried to carry a long distance by yourself? I’ve had all 3, and I promise you, every single time I am convinced I can carry everything in by myself without the help of other people. I’d rather make one, big trip alone than have to ask someone else to help me carry my belongings. I don’t know if I’m too stubborn or I feel bad asking people to carry my stuff, but I know it can be really challenging to admit that I can’t do something alone and I need someone to help me carry my belongings.
While this is a quippy example, this mindset can lead to a really dangerous thought process. It starts with thinking we don’t need anyone to help us carry around physical belongings, but if we’re not careful, this indignance to refuse help can turn into refusing to let anyone carry anything that belongs to us, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Our motives might be all different – whether it be guilt, pride, stubbornness, or indifference – but we start to refuse to let other people in our lives to help us. Which, without checking, can isolate us from those who care about us.
This very idea is found in a Pauline epistle. Paul writes early in chapter 6 that we are called to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Those aren’t light words. Paul says that it is Jesus’ command that we help one another carry the things that are weighing us down. Each person will have different things that weigh different amounts, but regardless of size or manifestation, we are loving our neighbor by helping one another carry those things.
Now, this does not mean neglect your own baggage to take on someone else’s. Paul is saying to help each other, so just as much as we have the liberty to help others, others also have the liberty to help us. We are called to do this communally, and each of us are called to this lifestyle of bolstering one another up and carrying each other’s livelihoods.
A good friend of mine once told me to let him love and serve God by helping carry my burdens. I think that is one of the simplest but most impactful ways we can serve one another. We carry each other’s burdens because that is the call of Christ: just as He carried the sin of the world, we help point each other toward Him by working thorough the highs and lows of our lives. – Katie Hufnagle
Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.
1. Recall the last time you helped a friend or family member carry a burden.
2. Is it easy or challenging for you to share your heart with others? Why?
3. How can we better fulfill the law of Christ in the next few days and weeks?
4. Take some time to write a prayer to God.
Conversation Guide: Ask three questions to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.
1. What was the last way each of us helped carry someone else’s burdens? Our own?
2. How can we model this fulfillment of the law as a family?
3. How can we hold each other accountable to ensuring we feel like we have someone helping us carry our burdens?
Prayer: Read Ephesians 6 and then read this prayer by yourself:
Dear God, thank you for creating us to not be alone, physically or emotionally. You have given us the wonderful task to help one another carry these burdens, so I pray I can do this as you have called me to best glorify you. Give me strength to help those around me as well as confidence to give those around me the things that are weighing on my heart. You know these things Lord, so help me surrender those to better know and love you. I love you. Amen.