Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Putting Down Those Burdens

Last week Steve talked about freedom, the freedom that Jesus offers.  On the power point we had a picture of some chains.  Many of us do not feel free—even if we know we should—and feel as if we have heavy burdens to carry.  I know I do not always feel free and I know that I carry burdens around.

I am not up here telling you about this because I am an expert and have it all figured out.  It’s pretty much the opposite.  Often I have found that when I get ready to speak, I end up speaking about something that I need to learn.

And so I want to expand on what Steve talked about.  And, I’ll even mention Martin Luther!
In On Christian Liberty Martin Luther wrote:

“I will therefore give myself as Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered himself to me; I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbor since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ.”

But how can we offer ourselves to our neighbors when we feel burdened—or overburdened—already?  I know that I get too focused on what’s going on in my life and it causes me to not pay attention to and be a loving neighbor to people around me.

There are many reasons why we carry around our burdens.

It could be pride and independence—we want to solve our problems by ourselves.  Maybe we don’t think God really cares about them or that someone else has bigger and more important problems.  Maybe we think that if we give our burdens to God that we are copping out and not taking responsibility for ourselves.  Maybe we are perfectionists and don’t want people to think we screw up or that everything is not always great in our lives.  Or we may have issues trusting people.  How do we know for sure that what we tell someone in confidence is not going to make its way around campus through gossip?

There are so many burdens that people in this world are bearing, and many are bearing them alone.  We might wonder how we bear each other’s burdens when we have our own to bear.  And I don’t think that we are supposed to get rid of all of ours before helping someone else.  I think maybe we are supposed to share them with each other, because they won’t be going away.

In the movie Bruce Almighty , Bruce, as God, gets millions of prayer emails and doesn’t want to bother with them, so he answers every prayer with a yes.  This causes a multitude of problems, and after alienating himself from his girlfriend he comes to a point where he takes her pain and her prayers seriously.  Let’s take a look at that.

[show clip]

Bruce saw her all of the pain that she was going through and learned that caring for people was important.  That taking the time to hear their prayers and know their hearts and feel their burdens was important.

Psalm 68:19 tells us   Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation

Who daily bears us up.  Having burdens, and giving them up, is not a one-time event, but a daily event.  In fact, my Orthodox Jewish friends pray this every morning as part of their daily morning prayers.

How can we daily interact with each other in such a way that we are bearing each other’s burdens?  How can we daily be the body of Christ together, bearing each other’s burdens and the burdens of those with whom we come in contact?

And if you have a burden that is weighing on you today that you want to get rid of, right now, you have a piece of paper.  Write it down. Someone will collect it from you during the last song (nobody in here will know what it is; it will stay private), and we’ll get rid of them, together, before we all leave.

After chapel is over this morning, if you want to stay and talk, or stay and pray, Greg, Sera, and I will be here to do that with you.  Just find one of us.
Our closing song is called “Trading My Sorrows”.  I hope that today, you can trade whatever sorrows or burdens that you are bearing for the joy of the Lord.

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