WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Some reading this are staggering under burdens that are already at or beyond your ability to bear: sickness, pain, broken relationships, regrets, financial setbacks, failures, seemingly hopeless futures. For many of you, few others know the weight of the load you carry.
It was the same for the churches of Galatia and has been for every church since then. Paul knew that. He also knew that there were others who had a shoulder with some remaining strength or a pack with some empty space, who could relieve the burdened before they collapsed. So, he wrote a central teaching for our life together as believers:
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:1).
As I wrote on day 81, Jesus shocked His disciples by adding a “New Commandment” to the two “Great Commandments” of loving God and loving neighbors. While the two great commands were for everyone and had been quoted for centuries, Jesus’ new command was specifically and only for His followers, His church: “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34). This is not all that Paul meant by the Law of Christ, but it is central to it.
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – I don’t know about you, but I want to fulfill the law of Christ – not for fear of punishment but for love of my Master. And I need all the help I can get. So, when He tells me “in this way you will fulfill” My law, I’m all ears, with a pencil and notepad in hand: “Carry one another’s burdens.” That’s what I needed to know. I’m all in, and I hope you are, too.
The first thing we’ve got to do is be around other believers daily. The first description of the first church said, “Now all the believers were together … Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:44-46). The Bible knows nothing about “Lone Ranger” Christians.
Then, we’ve got to make it our business to notice burdens. The same description of the newborn church says, “They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45). They knew who “had need” because they cared, they looked, and they asked. In our culture, the most frequent needs are not financial. They are broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken relationships. We can discover them by caring, looking, and asking.
Next, we must be willing to increase our load to relieve the burden of a brother or sister. “I’ve got problems of my own” is not an excuse for the follower of Christ, Who “though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). He washed His disciples’ feet even though His needed washing, and no one washed His.
Finally, we’ve got to just do it, often and consistently. Agreeing with the principle isn’t enough. As Jesus said, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:17). There’s no commendation for understanding or intention – just for obedience.