Learning to Share is Harder Than I Expected

Learning to share

To Bear is to Share

I can never make up my mind what the Christian’s response to that verse in the Bible that exhorts us to ‘Bear one another’s burdens’ (Galatians 6:2 NKJV) really means. Sometimes, I shy away from it—sure that the God only wants my tithe, offerings and castoffs duly donated to the Salvation Army or missionary barrel at church (Who am I kidding? Jesus doesn’t need my junk). After all, I have enough problems of my own and have no desire to take on someone else’s mess (they made it, they can deal with it).

At times I’ve done the opposite (especially when called to be a caregiver). I’ve swooped in with my superhero cape and done my best to fix someone else’s problems using the skills, insights and wisdom God gave me. I confess I’ve felt disgruntled when my rescuee didn’t follow my advice or feel adequately appreciative of my heroic efforts to bear his or her burdens.

But as I grow older, I’m coming to understand the verse better. Sometimes, reading a different translation sheds new light on the text and the entire context of the passage. The Message version says this in Galatians 6:1-3:

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”

The context explains it all—our position is not superhero or disinterested offering giver. God calls us to position ourselves as fellow travelers. God doesn’t need us to judge or to save. He needs us to reach out to the oppressed. He needs us to share the burdens of our fellow travelers. We don’t carry the burdens (that’s HIS job). We simply share them.

God doesn't need us to judge or to save. He needs us to reach out. Click To Tweet

I see this as a call to listen. Our ears should be the first in line for service (with a hand of comfort offered as well). We don’t need to offer advice, try to solve someone else’s problems or offer religious platitudes. We need to listen. Once our fellow traveler shares her burden, we need to offer the four hardest words know to woman, “How can I help?”

And of course, once again, we should listen.

God calls us to be burden sharers, not burden snatchers. Click To Tweet

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Um…sometimes God does need more than we think we can give, and He needs more than we can even take. Sometimes the only words God needs to hear are, “To get to her, Satan, you have to come through me first.” Followed by The Finger.

    I learned this, this week. Barbara had the flu, there were two dogs sick, and I had the flu as well, with a consistent fever of 104. But there was no help, and the caregiven became the caregiver. And at what I hope is the end of this – fever broke, but it’s rising again now – I understand that I am simply expendable in His purpose, period, full stop.

    There is reference to something similar in popular culture, the 1961 Jimmy Dean song ‘Big Bad John’.

    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Hairball – A Story of Viet Nam {#BlogBattle & FMF}My Profile

    • andrew, i enjoyed hearing this song again. it has been a very long time. i used to hear it on days i was home sick and had the radio on:) yes, it was a very long time ago!

      sad to hear of your worse-than-average week:( a sick wife and flu you is no fun on top of your other ailments:( praying for you today as you recover. may the GOD of peace be with you today.
      Martha Brady recently posted…TO SHARE IS NOT NATURAL, BUT IT IS GOOD FOR US…My Profile

  • great post anita:) so true! also reminds me of Mt. 11:28-30 that helps even the burden sharers not get too burdened down. blessings today. glad to be home from our trip and back to our routine.
    Martha Brady recently posted…TO SHARE IS NOT NATURAL, BUT IT IS GOOD FOR US…My Profile

  • I love the Message translation of this verse. Listening to each other is so important. Listening shows we care. I’m over in the #52 spot this week.
    Tara recently posted…Friends to Share Life WithMy Profile

  • We are called to be burden bearers not burden snatchers. Yes, this is my take-away. Good post.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…five minute friday: shareMy Profile

  • This is good. I like to say God gave us 2 ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
    GGMandy recently posted…FMF : ShareMy Profile

  • I love this Anita. He doesn’t need us to judge or to save, He needs us to reach out. YES!
    Christy recently posted…Sharing Life TogetherMy Profile

  • Anita,
    thought-provoking. I was thinking of our FMF community and how we share in the joys and trials just by keeping in touch. Reaching out. Unselfishly.
    Even if a friend doesn’t comment on our post first, when we go visit theirs. That is sharing.
    (I have no post this week. Too busy sharing in some real life adventures to post, but I appreciate all the times you have come to visit before I have made it over here)
    Tammy recently posted…News: Five Minute FridayMy Profile

  • Wow, I really love how the Message translates that verse. I truly appreciate the revelation you’ve shared with us here.
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