I’m a bit of a calendar nerd. Promotional calendars have heaps of information like tide charts, moon cycles and other pointless trivia. My favourite thing of all is when there are pictures of flags on the national day of different countries. The day for Israel is simply called ‘Yom Kippur’.
Basically for Yom Kippur a priest takes 2 goats. The first is sacrificed as a means of restoring the people with God. The second goat is called ‘the scapegoat’. The priest symbolically places everything people have done wrong on the goat and it is sent away into the wilderness. Two goats but death is their shared destination. Yom Kippur answers the question how broken people can be in relationship with God.
The core of Christianity is that Jesus’ sacrifice is the bridge that joins broken people to God. Followers of Jesus see that he is just like the 2 goats. In his crucifixion he had burdened all of our wrongs, and in his sacrifice the required price was paid.
Followers of Jesus do the same thing. They don’t become sacrifices or take on the wrongs of others. Instead followers of Jesus can become burden carriers. Being burden carriers is simply how we care for people. It’s what being the hands and feet of Jesus is all about.
You know what it’s like to be burdened down. It may be your circumstances, your loneliness, or your health. The simple fact is that things tend to weigh us down. Burden carriers come and say ‘let me carry that load for you.’
What is Required?
People try to hide the burdens they carry. Who wants to be thought of as weak. Burden carriers need to be trustworthy.
You don’t have to let anyone carry your burden. You can go it alone if you want. The fact is no one will ever carry your burdens until you let them. This starts with becoming vulnerable. Share your story, questions, doubts and fears. Burden carriers listen.
- Know Where to Take Burdens.
Carrying people’s burdens can be hard but burden carriers know who to take them. Jesus told people to unload their burdens on him. Sometimes burden carriers help people give Jesus their burdens. Sometimes they give them to Jesus on behalf of people who cannot. Either way, burden carriers know that it is Jesus who is the real burden carrier.
How you can Carry Burdens.
- Be There.
Nothing is more helpful than simply being around with people in their struggles. It sends a message. “You matter. I feel your pain. You have not been abandoned.”
- Be Quiet.
Being a burden carrier is not about you. Listen to the story of the burdened. Burden carriers don’t have all the answers or solve problems. They lighten people’s loads.
- Be Prayerful.
Burden carriers are praying people. Sometimes you can pray with people, at others silently. Prayer is a way that directs burdens to Jesus.
Sharing each other’s burdens is counter-intuitive. We are conditioned to be independent and self-reliant. Sharing each other’s burdens is the opposite of this. It is a way of expressing ‘I want you to be part of my life.’ Revolutionary but worth it, don’t you think?