Bearing One Another's BurdensSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
BEARING ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS
Sermon By Terry Siverd / October 08, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
A few years back we had a Bible class featuring an extended a study of all of the “one-another” passages in the NT.
One important one-another passage is found in Col.3:13 - - bear with one another.
That verse addresses the need to bear with (put up with) each other even in times of disagreement and conflict.
This will be our sermon topic for next Sunday.
Another one of these citations that is also central to our current study of The Fruit Of The Spirit is found in Gal.6:2 - -
Bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.
This exhortation is at the heart of who we are are Christians.
As Christ's church we are a community of LOVE. Earlier in Paul's letter to the churches in Galatia, he writes (Gal.5:14) - -
For the whole law is summed up in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
If we are truly the family of God, our love will radiant in the way we bear one another's burdens.
The immediate context of Paul's admonition to bear one another's burdens is found in Gal.6:1 - -
Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such
a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
On some levels, our world is very much like the world that Jesus encountered during His incarnation.
Remember His words (Mt.11:28) - - Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Gal.6:2 is a reminder from the apostle Paul for us to walk in the steps of Jesus - - to bear the burdens of others.
During my protracted illness in 2022 I experienced first-hand others wanting to help.
One young lady visited and brought me all kinds of equipment: potty chair … cane … raised toilet seat … etc..
It was a thoughtful gesture. As it turned out I didn't need them. They are now in storage for the years to come.
More recently, another young lady (from our past) offered to come and live with Jeannie & I and help out
during my recent rotator-cuff surgery. Here again, we declined, but we were touched greatly by the offer.
Bruce loaned me his ice-machine for the length of my shoulder surgery.
Keith & Shan & Vic sat with Jeannie during my shoulder surgery.
Vic has offered repeatedly to be my “Christian gumba”, subbing in the pulpit whenever I needed respite.
He has a sermon in holding - - already prepared for at time I need him. He's done that for years now! Likewise for Rob.
I know of others of you who have helped others bear their burdens.
One of our brothers has spent a year helping another brother battle an addiction.
Our lives are filled with troubles, some of which can be especially difficult to bear alone.
Sometimes we as a church family pool of resources to assist others in need.
Not long ago our church family provided some much-needed funds to
assist a family impacted by the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, OH.
Recently we have helped a family (a wife and a husband) confronted with grim cancer diagnoses.
Our responses have reminded me of our first-century brethren who rose up to lend assistance (Acts 4:34-35) - -
there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles' feet and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.
One of the hardest things to do sometimes is swallow our pride and ask for help.
I read a story this past week from another preacher (in West Virginia).
“...An elderly lady (Mary) in the congregation who didn't want anyone to know what was taking place in her life...came into worship
with a note, and said, 'This note is for your eyes only.' The note detailed that she was having surgery at 9:00 the next morning.
Her surgery was not to be announced, and it was not to be published in the bulletin. She was to have no visitors from the church.
I wanted to respect her wishes. That Monday morning, I worked in the office and didn't go to the hospital. I got a call from her sister Helen that afternoon. Mary was very hurt and disappointed that I didn't come to the hospital. I explained to Helen that Mary had said people from the church were not to visit. Helen said, 'I know, but that doesn't apply to you. She expects you to be there'.”
Others cannot bear our pain unless we first bare that pain.
In 1Cor.12:26, Paul uses the image of the physical body to teach a lesson about the work of the body of Christ.
...If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. God has so ordained the body...
Our burdens come in all shapes and sizes: sickness … setbacks … sorrows.
Gal.6:2 is rendered with slightly different variations: bear burdens … carry loads … share troubles.
One's degree of participation can often be tailored according to the need.
Praying is always helpful.
A card or a phone call is a simple act that can do more that we might imagine.
This past week, the internet had a story about a hiker in the French Pyreenes who fell 130' and was knocked unconscious overnight.
The next morning his boss called his cell phone, irate that he was late for work. That call probably saved his life.
Someone has penned these words: “When a person is down, an ounce of help is worth a pound of preaching.”
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews writes (Heb.13:3) - - Remember the prisoners,
as though in prison with them, and those who who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
In his letter to the Romans (Rom.12:15) Paul states: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
“The time when people really need love is when they don't deserve it.”
Paul's words in Gal.6:2 (bear burdens) are an extension of Gal.6:1 (caught in any trespass).
Among the burdens we are called to bear are ones associated with the lives of family and friends as well as brothers
and sisters in Christ whose worlds have been turned upside down due to poor choices and/or entanglements with sin.
We have an golden opportunity this week to come alongside family members and friends in helping to bear their grief.
Four children have had their lives forever changed.
Their father died unexpectedly in the summer of 2022 and their mother has died unexpectedly just recently.
The mother of these children was a beloved camper at our summer youth retreat for several years.
Both parents were involved with long-time struggles with drug addiction.
Their families are in shock and are mourning deeply.
We may not know what to say, but our actions will serve us well in professing our love and concern.
LET US BE THERE TO HELP THEM!!