The Apostle Paul writes: “Bear one another’s burdens, and int his way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
I tell the confirmands every year that if they want to live the easiest life possible, don’t become a Christian. Now one might think that that’s not the best thing to say to our youth as they prepare to make a commitment to live their lives for Christ, for the rest of their lives, but I think it’s important for them to know.
I then go on to tell them that “easiest” and “best” are not the same thing. One can live an easy life – taking care of only themselves, living only to meet their own needs, not concerning themselves with the needs of others – but that isn’t the “best” life to live.
The “best” life is the life where we live for something bigger than ourselves. And as Christians we know this “bigger” life consists of loving and help all people. It is true that taking upon ourselves the added burden of helping and caring for others, does make life more “difficult,” but we also know it fills us with a sense of meaning and purpose. It is sharing the blessings of God’s love and compassion with others – that is the best life, not only for others but us as well.
There is a true story that I think drives this point home. There was an early missionary to the Cherokee people. He lived in the village with them. Another Indian nation was at war with the Cherokee and the warriors were heading their way and would quickly and easily overrun this small tribe.
The leader of the Cherokees called the people to cross the river. Then to the astonishment of the missionary, the leader picked up one of the children from the tribe and said, “Do as I do and cross the river.”
The missionary watched as the men picked up children, others picked up someone who was elderly and they made their way to the river. The missionary was about to enter the water, when the chief called out, “Grab that elderly man over there.”
The missionary, in a panic yelled back, “I need to cross quickly, I cannot carry someone.” “No,” replied the chief, “you must carry another person.”
Only when the missionary entered the river did he understand not only the compassion involved in this act, but the wisdom of the chief; for the river was very swift and could easily have dragged him downstream and drowned him. But with the added weight of the man in his arms, he was able to fight the current and safely cross it.
Jesus said, “Love one another ... place others above yourself.” So often we see this as a burden, when it fact it is the way to bless not only others, but blesses us as well and saves our lives from “easy” and leads us to the “best.”
~ God bless, Dan