Carrying Burdens

I have been so overwhelmed by the messages I have received lately. You really don't know what others are going through, until you allow yourself to be REAL about what you are going through. And it can be embarrassing and painful to admit you are struggling... but honestly, who isn't? We are all struggling with something. If you aren't struggling, then you aren't really living.

I wrote a song a few months ago about this "waiting" period in our lives. Waiting for a baby, waiting for our "dream careers," waiting to see loved ones again. If there is another thing in life that we all seem to have in common... it is the process of waiting. The fact that so many of us are bonded by at least these two things, struggling and waiting, should bring us closer together. But there are some who instead of embracing the struggle, choose to complain and sink into a hole of self-pity. Now I know this is a serious problem for some, and depression is very real, but I believe that so much of this can be prevented if we allow ourselves to just, be REAL.

I read a quote the other day that put this in perspective for me.

"Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves. The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others. By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.” - Gordon B. Hinckley

How true! When we serve other people and see their needs, our problems seem so much smaller. This is obvious when we go overseas on mission trips, for example, but what about in our daily lives? Why not start with our friendships?

As a follower of Christ, there is ONE commandment that we are given to fulfill the "law of Christ" here on earth. This blew me away when I realized it...

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galations 6:2

Carry each other's burdens. Wow, seems so simple and yet so difficult at the same time. In order to carry a burden, the first step is to admit you have one. Going back to the beginning... be REAL. Leave me a comment, email me, call a friend. Whatever you need to do to share your burden with someone. And then, let them carry it.

Thank you to those who have carried our burdens this week. Perhaps next week it will be yours on our shoulders. :)

A word from Luke, not John.

I don't usually blog on Sundays. I barely have a moment to sit down at all to be honest. But, I have a few minutes before bed time and I wanted to share something I heard from the Lord this morning. And it had nothing to do with the message at church today (which was great, by the way). It was actually an accident on my part.

Have you ever turned to the wrong book or chapter during a sermon and didn't know it? Well... it happened to me today. And for some reason I didn't catch it, because I was too wrapped up in the passage. We were asked to turn to John 14:16. Instead I turned to Luke 14:16 and read this...

Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’

“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

It caught my attention enough for me to read a little before this to find out why exactly Jesus shared this story with the people.

Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

This was definitely something I needed to hear today. Being in ministry, sometimes it seems that we are giving all the time and we deserve "one area" in which we don't need to. Most of the time that area is in our friendships. Josh is better at it than me, but I tend to avoid a friendship if I feel it is becoming too "needy" or "clingy." It's sad to even admit that.

But reading this passage this morning reminded me of what it's like to truly serve others and live in humility. Most of my friends don't "need" me. They have great jobs, spouses, family, talents. I would probably need to plan a couple days in advance to schedule myself into their lives. But, Jesus calls us to do the opposite! He says our house should be full of the needy. Not just a party with our dearest and best. He wants us to invite those who are less fortunate, who have obvious disabilities, who can give us nothing in return. And if we are honest, sometimes the only people we surround ourselves with are people who make us look good. Not people who we can bless. The Lord convicted me that I can be serving in a "ministry" and not really ministering.

And I got all that from turning to the wrong book. :)