Backpacks versus Crushing Loads
I mentioned in my blog last week that I am currently emotionally raw because of my circumstances. In addition, God has me coming face-to-face with some truths from His Word that have me pondering service to others. I have certainly served in my lifetime. What mom doesn’t serve? Anyone who knows me, however, knows that what comes most naturally to me is encouragement, cheerleading and inspiring. I have willingly sacrificed my time and energy for such endeavors. But bending low to clean up and wipe up, to cook and clean for others…I don’t usually run to find it.
I don’t usually look like a firefighter.
While the rest of us run away from the disaster, firefighters rush into the disaster.
God is challenging me to go find ways to serve.
I remember hearing a sermon on the following verses that taught me one way to gauge whether or not I am to help someone or be reluctant to do so…whether I am to handle a situation myself or ask for help.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to someone else, for each one should carry his own load. (Galatians 6:2-5)
The Greek word for “burdens” is crushing load. We are to carry the burdens of people who are crushed by their circumstances. Wiped out. Exhausted. Extremely tested. *
The Greek word for “load” in this verse is akin to backpack. We all have them and we are to carry them ourselves.**
God challenges us to come alongside those bearing a crushing load.
To further fuel my thoughts about seeking to serve others, my son’s devotional yesterday was about King David. As a strong teenager, David killed the mighty Philistine Goliath with a stone and slingshot (1 Samuel 17)
David finds himself fighting the Philistines again as an adult, but this time becomes exhausted.
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendents of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David (sounds like a crushing load). But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue (He ran to help!); he struck the Philistine down and killed him (2 Samuel 21:15-17, parenthetical remarks mine).
I love how Abishai comes alongside exhausted king David and slays the giant Ishni-Benob when David is simply too tired to fight.
I believe God calls all of us to be Abishai’s…to come alongside the exhausted.
Who are they? They are everywhere. At times the crushing load was happening to me. I recall difficult times of illness when meals appeared on my porch for my family, or when I broke both elbows roller-blading and could not even serve my elementary-aged daughters a glass of water. (Yup. No joke.)
Can’t each of us name people in our lives who are dealing with the death or extreme illness of a loved one? None of us are spared death or illness. In addition, other tragedies strike in the form of fires, earthquakes, poverty, divorce, abandonment and war. Crushing loads.
God prompts a team of backpack-wearing people to run into the chaos with every exhausted person.
Question is, are we responding to His prompts?
I believe God is asking me to carefully consider the line of who to help…and who not to help.
My children, for example, are supposed to learn how to handle the backpacks of suffering. I am not to relieve them of that homework assignment (how else will they learn to do harder work in college?),
the hurt from that friend (how else will they learn to forgive, manage conflict, understand that they can survive relationships that aren’t perfect?), working to pay for that college tuition (How else will they learn how to support their family later or run the financial affairs of a household?)
1) I regret the times I have lifted backpacks off shoulders thinking I was helping. In doing so, I was interfering with struggles God was intending to use for their growth .
2) I shudder to think of the times I was preoccupied with lifting backpacks and missed being there to help lift a crushing load.
3) I am most ashamed, I think, of using my backpack as an excuse not to tend to someone else’s crushing load.
- We are asked to trust God with those being asked to carry backpacks.
- We are asked to run to those facing crushing loads.
- We are asked to slay the giants of the exhausted.
This weekend, I am going to find some exhausted people.
I know a few right now.
Join me, please. Let’s find some exhausted people and slay some giants for them.
And if you are some underneath a crushing load, I have prayed that some backpack wearing person comes to your rescue today.
Come on folks, let’s be fabulous human beings!
*Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Greek word 983, “emptiness, desolation, a void associated with chaos.” (p. 992)
** Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Greek word 5845, “burden, load, cargo.” (p. 1601)
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