Monday, June 1st, 2015
Trailblazers (Part 14)
Bear Others' Burdens
'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
Matthew 25:37-40 (NKJV)
He Himself bore our sins in His Body on the Cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His Wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 2:24 (NASB)
If a trail guide carries a backpack, what's in it? Water, food, shelter and protection? A compass, camera, matches and medicine? If he's a believer, faith, hope and a Bible?
What about a trailblazer in media? A headshot, resume and demo reel? Three songs, two monologues and a pair of dance shoes? If he's a believer, faith, hope and a Bible?
On their first missionary excursion, Jesus told His disciples, 'Take nothing for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt' (Luke 9:3). Why? To prove God's exceeding sufficiency? To leave them free to bear others' burdens?
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Consider some burdens to bear for others:
1) Hunger: 'When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you' (Luke 14:13-14). Do you invite the disadvantaged to your home for Christmas, Thanksgiving and holiday parties? If not, make a list and do so next time!
2) Loneliness: Because God 'Administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing' (Deuteronomy 10:18). Therefore, extend yourself to the causes of the lonely. 'God sets the solitary in families' (Psalm 68:6). You are this family.
3) Information: 'He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter' (Proverbs 11:13). If someone confides in you, keep it confidential. If others gossip around you, neither hear it nor spread it. 'Love covers a multitude of sins' (1 Peter 4:8).
4) Grief: 'Mourn with those who mourn' (Romans 12:15). 'Jesus wept' (John 11:35). You don't need the right words. Just bring the right heart. In tragedy, step up and be counted. Let others know you share their grief. If mourning moves God to action, let it move you to attendance.
5) Mistakes: 'If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently... Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ' (Galatians 6:1-2). Don't abandon a friend for a sin. Neither pretend it didn't happen. Kindly, patiently correct your friend.
6) Poverty: 'The goal is equality, as it is written: 'The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little' ' (2 Corinthians 8:14-15). Giving to the poor from your surplus is a two-fold blessing: You lift their load and lighten your own. Hoarding is deadly.
7) Discipleship: The resurrected Christ gave three parting Orders to Peter, His new church leader: 'Tend My lambs... Shepherd My sheep... Tend My sheep' (John 21:15,16,17). Since God calls His saints, priests, we are called to be our brothers' keepers. Alone, Sunday sermons cannot disciple.
8) Family: 'If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever' (1 Timothy 5:8). To deny your family's need (your family in Christ or at home) is to deny God's Word. To deny God's Word is to deny Jesus.
9) Prayer: 'Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much' (James 5:16). It may be fast or slow, but one thing I know: Intercessory prayer works. So continue with all perseverance.*
10) Miracles: 'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give' (Matthew 10:8). Yes, I believe in miracles. I have seen them. Are they practiced in churches? Some. Are they still possible? 'All things are possible to him who believes' (Mark 9:23).
I could continue, but in brief, when you see a burden: A) Stop what you're doing to help. B) Drop to your knees in prayer. C) Roll the burden off the bearer. 'Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends' (John 15:13).
Because, 'For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required' (Luke 12:48).
To Be Continued...
* 'Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints' (Ephesians 6:18 and the last piece of the Armor of God).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Trailblazers series.