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Carry the Load

Carrying one another’s burdens was central to the first century church, Acts 2:44-47. Unlike the large cathedrals and megachurches of today, there wasn’t the financial resources available at this time. Thus, homes, existing synagogues, and or open areas near bodies of water were used as places of worship. Whenever a need arose within a body of believers, sacrifices were made so that no one went hungry or without a place to call home.

Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it], Galatians 6:1-2.

While home churches and small groups still meet today, poverty is rampant across the country and throughout the world. At some point in the past 2000 years, Christian congregations have forgotten the apostles teaching. Instead of carrying the load of burdens in neighborhoods and communities, many families have gone their own separate ways. Similar to the ways of the Old Testament, American Christians appear to be doing what’s right in their own eyes, Judges 21:25, without carrying the burdens of others.

For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself. But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor. For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults], Galatians 6:3-5.

Perhaps the apostle Paul witnessed identical warning signs in the Church at Galatia. At the heart of this problem was a superiority complex passed on by a religious sect known as the Judaizers. Rather than loving neighbors as yourself, the Judaizers forced Gentile Christians to become circumcised. Whenever churches deviate from the apostles teaching, important needs go unrecognized or met. Therefore, if you want to make a difference, start carrying the load of burdens from other believers today, Philippians 2:15-16.

by Jay Mankus

Uncharted Waters

During my last summer as a boy scout, I spent a week canoeing 50 miles in the Canadian wilderness.  To reach our goal, our troop had to average just over 7 miles a day to complete this journey.  Due to a few stormy days, one day was stretched to 10 miles after whitecaps, 3 feet high at times, through a curve ball into our original plans.  Once leaving our guide at the boat dock, our scout master had the only map of these foreign bodies of water.  Faith, trust and hard work was to key to finishing this adventure.

After graduating college, I faced a similar dilemma, but this time I endured uncharted territories, not 100 % sure where to go, what to do and how to survive living on my own.  Although I had friends who had made a smooth transition to this next phase in life, I thought finding a full time job would be much easier.  My greatest fear was settling for something less than ideal, but not waiting too long to decide.  Finally, like a master navigator, God provided the perfect position in Columbus, Indiana.  While having one of the best summers of my life, I treated my new position like a sprint instead of a marathon, eventually burning myself out after 15 months due to immaturity.

Twenty years later, I feel as if I am living the lyrics to Willie Nelson’s song “On the Road Again.”  Some where along the way, doubt has crept into mind whispering words of confusion.  Whether you are new parents driving home from the hospital with your first child, starting a new job or looking for purpose and meaning in life, uncharted waters await you.  Although waves of uncertainty may come crashing around you, James 1:6, there is a living God who can lead you beside still waters, Psalm 23:2.  Whatever trial is currently staring you in the eye, may the God of the Bible help navigate you through life’s storms so you may experience the gift of eternal life, Romans 6:23.

by Jay Mankus

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