Posted by Douglas Twitchell on Feb 9, 2006
Two times in the last month, under completely different circumstances, I’ve had people say to me “I don’t want to be a burden.” In both cases the statement was made by another Christian. Both times my reply was: “How could you be a burden? You’re part of my family. This is just what we do for each other.”
We always talk about “brothers” and “sisters” in Christ, but I don’t think we often stop to really think about what it means that we are family.
I remember hearing a story about two brothers who were walking one day, and the younger one became tired, so he asked his older brother to carry him. The older boy scooped his brother up in his arms and began to carry him. As he walked, a neighbor chuckled and said, “Wow. He must be heavy.”
And the older boy replied: “He’s not heavy, he’s mybrother!”
It’s a cute story, but let’s be realistic – the younger boy would have weighed exactly the same if he hadn’t been brother to the other boy. And yet, because he is family, the load seems much lighter.
You can see the same truth in your own life. Think about everything your parents gave up for you. The freedom of activity they gave up the moment you were born. The sleepless nights (my parents tell me I used to wake them up with my giggling in the middle of the night ) All the money spent on your food, clothing, medical bills…The time spent driving you from place to place, going to your sporting events, concerts and school plays. And then when you were a teenager, the sleepless nights started all over again…
Okay? You’ve got all that in your mind, right? Now go to your parents and say to them, “I’m sorry I was such a burden to you…”
And if they’re anything like my parents, they’ll look at you like you’ve got a third ear sprouting out of the middle of your forehead, and they’ll say, “Burden? You weren’t a burden!”
Well, yes, you were. But because of their great love for you, they don’t see you that way. Because you are family.
Now think about your spiritual family. The people you call your brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you really treat them as brothers and sisters? Or are they simply your burden you have to bear? If a physical family (born of corruptible seed, as I Peter 1:23 says) bears one another’s burdens, how much more should we, who share an imperishable, incorruptible family tree, bear one another’s burdens.
No wonder Galatians 6:2 tells us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ!” It is one of the most simple and obvious responsibilities – and joys – of family life!