Blessing #3: The Blessing of a Burdened Heart
“If you really want to receive joy and happiness, then serve others with all your heart. Lift their burden, and your own burden will be lighter.” (Ezra Taft Benson)
The believer in Christ has so many blessings. And my unsaved friend Mike is helping me to “count my blessings.” I’ve been thinking about what I enjoy as a follower of Jesus. Sadly, my lost friends, although they enjoy much by way of God’s providential care (common grace), these are some blessings they don’t yet have.
There’s a rather strange one that believers have and it is —
3. WE HAVE THE BLESSING OF A BURDENED HEART!
THE BLESSING I am not suggesting that my unsaved friends don’t weep at the death of a loved one, or agonize over poor life-choices that their children make, or that they aren’t concerned with the many faces of evil in our world. But I think those “burdens” are the result of being made in the image of God, not necessarily of being a new creation in Christ. For someone considering Christianity I am tempted to say to them, “Buckle up! Get ready to get your heart burdened!”
THE BIBLE The classic passage on becoming a burden-bearer, I think, is Matthew 11 where the Lord Jesus says,
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
A burdened heart is actually a healthy heart, if the burden is of Christ. Prior to receiving Christ as our Savior, there is a weariness and a burdenness (new word!) that can only be remedied by the rest that He gives. If “I will give you rest” refers to salvation, then it is critical to see that the believer after conversion has work to do (a yoke to wear) and learning to pursue.
A burdened heart looks out at the world and weeps.
G.K. Chesterton put it this way: “Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.” We were created to be burdened.
A burdened heart looks at friends and family without Christ . . . and prays! It looks at itself and asks not that the burden be taken away but that it be increased, trusting God to work in His way. We read in Galatians 6 the following:
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.
Please notice that this section is directed at “you who live by the Spirit.” It would easy for someone to say, “I’m not really living by the Spirit, so I don’t have to seek to restore a brother or sister who is caught in sin!” No! We are supposed to be living by the Spirit so that we can help a fallen comrade!
Notice we are to “carry each other’s burdens” and by so doing we will “fulfill the law of Christ” (v. 2). But there is individual responsibility as well: “each one should carry their own load” (v. 5).
ACTION STEPS 1. Would you say your heart is burdened for someone else? How would you fill in the following blank? “I believe Jesus has given me a burden to carry and it is ____________.”
2. Let one or two fellow believers know this week that you want to pray for their burdens. Share with them a burden you are carrying for yourself.
3. If you are a parent or a grandparent, you will find great profit in reading Stormie Omartian’s book Praying for Your Adult Children.
4. Pray for your lost friend that he or she will become burdened for their salvation. And pray for yourself to become more burdened for his coming to Christ.