Life has many changes. We daily go about our routines, living our lives and taking care of ourselves and our families. However, living in this world also has its host of challenges. We may be doing fine one moment and the next thing we know, we are in a crisis situation. There are accidents, medical emergencies, and many other things that will affect our life and future. All of a sudden, we are overwhelmed and feel the crushing weight of worry, fear, anxiety and grief. Where do you go and who do you call in that moment? Do you feel that sharing your burdens with others is healthy or a sign of weakness? Oftentimes we carry burdens the Lord never meant for us to carry alone. There are also those times where we are doing fine but we see or hear of someone else in crisis. How can we help support someone else in their time of need? Today we will look at ways we can help each other in difficult seasons and see how the Lord would have us bear one anothers burdens.
Observations from the text
Christians are to be family, involved in each other lives, to care for and serve each other even in spiritual matters (v1).
- There will be times when all of us will need help, even in our struggles with our sin. We are to help each other with gentleness and love, with a grace that brings restoration and healing.
When a brother or sister is being crushed by a heaviness or weight in their life that far outweighs the strength of what they can bear, we are to come alongside and help bear that burden (v2).
When Christians bear each others burdens, they fulfill the law of Christ (v2). Let Me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are My discipleswhen they see the love you have for each other (Jn 13:34-35 MSG).
No Christian should ever think that he or she is totally independent and doesnt need help from others, and no one should feel excused from the task of helping others (vs3-4). (We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Ro 15:1-2)
Every person has a duty to carry their own load (responsibilities).
Loads and Burdens
We are all responsible for carrying our own load, spiritually and practically. However, there are situations in life where loads become burdens and we are crushed by the weight of those circumstances (accidents, tragedies, impairment, death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, abuse, addictions, depression, etc.) We do not have enough strength, resources or knowledge to carry the load ourselves. It is in those times we need a support system, community to come alongside and care for us, to help us get through the crisis as well as bring care during a season of healing and restoration.
How do we bear each others burdens?
1) Ministry of Prayer
Ministry should always begin with prayer.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints (Eph 6:18).
In prayer and intercession we need to believe in redemption and trust that God can intervene in situations and circumstances. We go to battle for each other. Miracles, answers, transformation, wisdom come by prayer. In those times when there is trouble, crisis, confusion, despair, we need the power of God to break into those situations.
We pray and intercede, individually and as a body.
- Table Project, prayer meetings, services, small groups.
We are each others priest where we speak Gods Word and pray. The Holy Spirit covers us and anoints us. Sometimes there are prophetic words and Scripture verses.
2) Ministry of Presence
The Ministry of Presence is showing up and engaging the person and the crisis where God would have you: hospitals, homes, neighborhoods, work places, schools, street corners, etc.
Christians bring in the presence of God: His love, His peace, His hope, the Holy Spirit wherever they go (Jn 14:2).
God ministers through relationships to serve and care for others. Jesus does not come in person so He sends us. We are to be each others priest.
We all need community, especially in those times when we are under heavy burdens. Jesus did not intend for us to be alone. We need to not only be caregivers but we also need to be willing to ask for help and receive care in whatever way God provides.
Christians are responsible for care; God is responsible for cure.
- (This is what makes Christian caregiving distinctive from other types of care)
Northwest Church offers care through Stephen, Jonathan and James Ministers.
Our church also offers care in the form of Life Groups, Divorce Care, Grief Share, Marriage Mentors, mens and womens Bible studies and Life Transformation Groups (LTGs).
3) Ministry of Provision
God may call upon us to provide time, resources, talents, wisdom for someone to help lift off the weight of their burdens (Heb 13:16, Php 2:4).
- Finances (benevolence), cards/flowers
- Wisdom and guidance
- Repairs, yard work, house cleaning, childcare, rides to the store or doctors office
When the people of God are family to each other, we bring the power of prayer, Gods loving presence and provision for those in need, we fulfill the law of Christ. We create environments of love, faith and hope. Through our presence, our listening ears and practical helps we provide care and trust God to bring the growth. Our love and care for each other is evangelistic by letting the world around us know Jesus is true (Jn 13:34-35).
As we respond to the call to bear each others burdens, here are some things to consider:
1) For some of you, continue what you are doing in caring for others.
2) Plug into community (be part of the family).
3) Pray and ask God where He would have you minister.
4) Receive some training (Stephen Ministry).
5) Ask for help (prayer meeting, Table Project nwc.tableproject.org).