An alternative to the joyless performance of Christian duties. A careful look at how some were taught God’s ways, energized in their service, and made a blessing to others. God’s solution is far different from the world’s self-centered remedies.
“Bear a burden and see God Work!”
Somewhere, your spiritual energy turned south. Weeks of Mondays roll by like endless train cars. Yes, you go to meetings. Nothing is seriously wrong. Yet, in your spirit you feel flat and dull. Your zeal is somewhere in the basement.
Every so often a missionary reports God’s blessing. You listen wistfully. A Christian with vibrancy and energy crosses your path. You look with longing. You used to be that way. Remember when you were saved? You were concerned and stirred. The burdens of your sins and eternal flames were real. Remember the peace, joy and energy you had when God worked in you?
Eli could relate. The tabernacle was a busy place. Yes, his sons were morally lax, but everything was running smoothly at God’s house. Everyday offerers arrived. Everyday people prayed. Everyday Eli sat in the entrance eating and watching, watching and eating. There he was, energyless Eli, slouched on a stool as a spectator watching offerers come and go. Everything was comfortable and routine. Undoubtedly, Eli felt in a rut. God’s evaluation? “The lamp of God was about to go out becauseThere was no open vision!” Sin and circumstances had flattened his spirit. God had not spoken or worked in Israel for a long time.
Is there any hope? Can things change?
Bearing a Barrel
Picture household servants. They report for duty on the big day. The wedding day has come. Everything is set. The guests arrive. The celebration begins. Soon the servants begin to whisper as they pass amidst the guests. “The wine is running out!” “Somebody miscalculated.” “Somebody is in big trouble with the master!”
Two of the guests are Jesus and His mother. Word filter’s to them of the impending crisis. His mother, confident of the ability of God’s Son, directs the servants. “Whatsoever He says unto you, DO IT!”
The Saviour orders them to fill barrels with water. The servants respond slowly and cynically. Order two is given, “Bear it unto the feast!” Their eyes bulge as they contemplate taking water before the master and his guests. What an insult! They may lose their jobs! Two words linger in their ears propelling them into action, “DO IT!”
Staggering under the burden of the barrels, they meander into the feast. Carefully they lower the barrels down. Eyes blink in awe as they draw out: “Wine, not water” This is God! Can you imagine their energy now? You talk about a second wind! All their concern is dissipated, their spirits are lightened when they bear a burden, obey the Lord and see God work.
Rote, dutiful compliance, leaves us feeling dull and cold. On the other hand, when we are burdened about doing God’s will, obedience brings joy and energy. “These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full” (John l5:11). Obedience is not easy and obedience can cost us. However, the Lord Jesus said, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17).
Bearing a Bed
Four men crashed through the door of a friend’s home announcing the news, “Jesus of Nazareth is nearby and He is healing others. We are going to take you to Him.” Quickly each grabs a comer of the paralyzed man’s cot and hustle him out the door and down the street. As they turn the comer, they see the crowd milling around the house, straining to get a glimpse of the Lord Jesus inside.
The four men hurry up to the wall of people surrounding the house. They look both ways, huddle in conference, and then rush their charge around the back to a stairway. They strain and sweat under the load as they hoist the paralytic up onto the roof. They test a few tiles for looseness and then carefully strip them back. Below is the crowd of people jammed in the house, the Lord Jesus teaching in the middle. Slowly and steadily they lower the cot and their friend directly in front of the Lord. Picture four heads peering down through a hole in the roof. Can you imagine their excitement at seeing the man respond to the Saviour? They would be ecstatic at the sight of their friend standing up, picking up his bed and slipping through the crowd to run home to his family.
Four men saw the Lord heal and forgive a man because they were willing to carry a burden (a needy soul) to the Lord. Each man shouldered just 25 percent of the load but got 100 percent of the blessing. But, did the Lord really care about them, or just the man in need? On that day He saw the hearts of the critics and the hearts of the “carers.” Thus, the Lord declares that because of THEIR faith He would bless a soul. As we sit calm, comfortable and feeling blah, we are missing out. We must seize the moment and seek a soul to bear to the Lord for blessing.
Bearing a Bier
Picture the news rippling through the village of Nain. The widow has lost her only son. Hearts are broken and tears flow as neighbors try to comprehend the grief of the woman robbed by death. At the funeral, many from town gather to express support and to travel with her to the burial. Several friends step forward to carry the pallet with the body The procession snakes down the road and out of town. The crowd follows in its wake. Silence prevails except for the sobbing of the widow and her friends. The few carrying the bier plod together. Their minds race back to a few months or years before when they took her husband down this same path. They try to feel the pain and sorrow but most of all they just try to be near. Their legs burn with exhaustion as they climb up and down the hills. Suddenly, the procession halts! Jesus of Nazareth approaches the coffin. His eyes fill with compassion as He surveys the sorrow and loss of the widow. The Saviour places one hand on the coffin near the still form. The Lord of Glory speaks, “Arise!” Immediately the young man sits up. (What were his first words?) Tenderly and joyfully, the Lord help him down from the coffin and turns him over to his awe-struck mother.
A few men had a front row seat to see the Lord work. They did not preach a sermon or say a word. They simply saw a person in need and were willing to help. Silent but near, they were bearing the very burden on the poor woman’s heart. It took energy, effort and compassion. Their personal cost was worth it all to see the Lord meet another’s need.
Feeling blah? Find a Christian in need. We do not need to preach a sermon, just show you care. Be practical. Be helpful. Most of all, be near. Sometimes silence is the best solace. You will be thrilled to see the Lord meet someone else’s need. Those few that day came to learn what Paul taught, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).
As time blows by like the wind, we sit like statues with rock-hard spirits. The solution? We must see God work! Should we then put our lives on cruise control and hope we will just happen to come upon some circumstance where God is working? No! Let us learn the lesson from these individuals. We don’t need great ability or gift. Scripture does not give any of their names, they were just average and ordinary. They stand out because they felt the weight of commitment to the Master, concern for a sinner and compassion for a widow. If we want the inestimable privilege of seeing God work, we MUST be willing to pay the puny price of bearing a burden. So what now? Don’t wallow in the blahs, “Do it”.