You may have noticed that many of these recent devotions have been very personal. I’ve been praying as to why, and this is what I’ve concluded: as Christ teaches me, through His word, through the Holy Spirit and through experience, I want to pass along what I am learning. I’ve not arrived at “perfection” yet, and won’t until the Lord calls me home. And though the Holy Spirit is perfecting me each day, I can always learn more. Today, He’s laid on my heart that I carry burdens I was never fit to carry. I carry burdens for my family, I carry burdens for my church family, I carry burdens for friends all over the world, and I carry burdens for strangers. And, because of hurts I carry from hands of people I’ve opened up to, I often try to shoulder these crushing burdens on my own. It’s easy to sling around slogans and scriptures. After all, I’ve taught that the Bible says “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:7) and “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the Law of Christ” Galatians 6:2. Easy to say, but practice has, at times, burned me, and so I keep to myself too often. It’s easy for me to help carry a burden, it’s difficult for me to share my own. Yet this is what we’re called to do. Jesus says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
Yet I find myself falling in the trap of wanting to be strong enough for my family, strong enough for the congregation God has called me to serve, and, if you can believe it, trying to be strong enough for Him. Perhaps it’s pride, I don’t know, but I want to somehow be worthy of the calling I’ve received, but it’s not I who can make myself worthy. Because Jesus is worthy, His calling is enough; He makes worthy those he calls, not finds worthy people and then calls them. This is part of the reasons we’re not fit to carry such big burdens.
Our burdens also wear on us. They take their toll on us, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Some people never find contentment because of wounds or obligations they feel they have. Yet I think of Martha and Mary. Jesus was visiting, and Mary sat at His feet while Martha was busy with all the preparations. Exasperated, Martha asked Jesus to tell her sister to help, but He simply loved her and said
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Bearing our own burdens makes us anxious, builds up expectations we can never meet, causes us more turmoil and harm, and even keeps us enslaved to our obligations or our victimhood. I see many believers who have no joy because of the causes they take up (even if they’re just). Why? Because they’re not giving things to God, but trying to prove they can handle it on their own. Are you weak and weary, heavy burdened with the cares of this life? Today’s the day to lay them down. Give them to Jesus, who is more than capable to handle anything you carry. Seek your brothers and sisters in Christ, seek prayer, seek to forgive and seek forgiveness. In this way, you lay aside the burdens you try and bear on your own. It’s not easy, but it brings about the peace Christ so desperately wants to give to you. Luke 10:38-42 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Matthew 11:25-30 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 1 Peter 5:6-11
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.