Moving day. Good news, bad news. The process of moving is horrendous - the result - once you find everything you packed - is wonderful. My Administrative Assistant Gayle recently got to experience all that good news and bad news. But actually, the bad news turned out to be not so bad. It could have been bad. Gayle is one woman with some heavy stuff to move - refrigerator, stove, piano. Plus lots of smaller things, of course. I was out of town when Gayle moved - good planning, huh? But I talked to her a few days after the big migration. And all she could talk about was the difference her friends had made. The guys pitched in on the especially exciting things - like the piano. The women carried some of the other items. And even her little nephews joined the team - they carried the little nephew sized stuff. Each person carried what he or she could. Gayle said, "Now when I look at each piece of furniture in my apartment, I think of a person - the one who helped carry that particular burden." The burdens turned out to have a lot of blessing in them - because of friends who helped her carry what she could never carry alone.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Load Lighteners."
Our word for today from the Word of God, Galatians 6:2. "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." That's the verse Gayle kept reading to her friends on moving day. Only kidding. But it is the verse her friends literally fulfilled that day. And what is this "law of Christ" you're carrying out when you're sharing someone's burdens? James 2:8 - "Keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Love goes beyond words and sentiment when you jump in and say, "Wait! You shouldn't be carrying that alone. I'm going to help you carry it."
The problem is we all have burdens of our own. And those burdens can make us very self-focused. Jesus carried the weight of relentless demands on His time, the leadership of a difficult team, and the awful burden of His approaching brutal death. But He always - right into His last week - took time to stop and help people with the load on their heart or their body or their soul. And He's the One you have chosen to follow.
Strangely, you don't lose anything when you look beyond your own burdens in order to help someone else with theirs. In fact, you gain something. There is a sense of healing, perspective, personal fulfillment that comes from reaching out to someone else's need. In the Bible's words, "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25). You know that's true - it's happened to you.
I wonder how people feel after they've been with you - heavier or lighter. Are you a complainer, a pessimist, a criticizer? If so, you probably are saying to people, "Here - I'm dumping some of my load on you." That's backwards. Imagine if those friends who came to help Gayle move had actually brought boxes of their own to add to her burden! I hope that wherever you go - when you're at home, at work, at school, in meetings - that you leave people feeling lighter, not heavier.
Each new morning, renew your membership in the Load Lightener Club. Load lightening begins by having your radar on during the day - listening for, looking for burdens someone may be carrying. Be generous with your words of encouragement - for someone, that encouragement may make all the difference today. Think creatively about what practical thing you could do that would remove a little of the weight of that person's burden. Remember, Gayle's apartment full of burdens all got moved by each person doing what they could. You can't solve every person's problem - you just ask God for what part He wants you to play. Ultimately, He is the Burden-Bearer. If you try to do His job, you'll become too crushed and you wont be of help to anyone.
Be one of God's Load Lighteners. And in the months and years to come, whenever that person remembers that burden, they will think of you - the person who helped them carry what they could never have carried alone.