It’s quite the equation. Bear the burden of another person and you are doing precisely what Jesus expects of human beings.
We live in a world, however, where doing this is scary. We are taught by experience to question things. If I help watch my neighbor’s kids, what will they do for me when I need help? If I help the lady down the street fix her leaky sink, will I have time to mow the yard later like I had planned?
Not terrible questions. In fact, a couple verses later, Paul will remind everyone that they must carry their own load. Nonetheless, they are questions we have to pass through on the way to bearing the burden of another.
The equation that bearing another’s burden equals doing what Jesus wants makes things very practical. Sometimes we create an unnecessary disconnect between our spiritual lives and our everyday practice. But what if our practicing spirituality meant practicing bearing the burden of another?
Everyday, I have the privilege of observing this. A mom watches another mom’s kids so that she can assist go assist at a birth, which often doesn’t happen at the most convenient of times. A neighbor repairs an AC unit late into the night for a friend whose husband is serving in Africa. Just the other day, I got double-booked for a meeting and to teach a woodworking class. It took all of 10 minutes to find someone willing to teach my woodworking class for me.
Every time I can observe it, I am challenged and inspired, and frankly tempted to include some quotes here from one of my favorite flicks, Pay It Forward.
Examples like these mean so much to the recipient. Just imagine the anxiety possible of your AC going out in the heat of summer, you have a house full of kids, and your husband is gone. And then a friend just comes over and fixes it all. It’s small things (that often feel HUGE) that we do for each other that can become contagious. So if you never thought that being like Jesus could look like watching kids or fixing a leaky sink, then think again. And then think and observe a little more around you those who seem overburdened, and consider what falls within your ability to offer a helping hand.
Will we feel the weight? Certainly. That’s why it is called a burden. But I’ve watched it happen time and time again. Those who give without caution to meet the need of a friend are taken care of in return. So fulfill the equation, fulfill the law of Christ - bear a burden!