Summary: Bearing each other’s burdens is a genuine expression of love and therefore fulfills the law of Christ.
A. I want to begin with a story I used several years ago from Max Lucado’s book, In The Eye Of The Storm (published in 1991). It is a story about a parakeet named Chippie.
1. Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage, and the next he was sucked in, washed up and blown over.
2. The problem began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner.
3. She put the end of the hose into Chippie’s cage to clean the bottom, but then the phone rang.
4. She turned to answer the phone, and barely said “hello” when she heard “ssssopp!”
5. Chippie was sucked into the vacuum.
6. The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and quickly opened the bag.
7. There was Chippie…still alive, but stunned.
8. Since the bird was covered with dust and dirt, she raced him to the bathroom, turned on the water and held Chippie under the running water.
9. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do…she reached for the hair blow dryer and blasted Chippie with hot air.
10. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
11. A few days after the trauma, the reporter who had initially written about the traumatic event called Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering.
12. “Well,” the owner replied, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore…he just sits and stares.”
B. And it’s not hard to see why.
1. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over…that’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
2. “Sucked in, washed up, and blown over.” That about sums up how many of us feel at times when life hits us hard. Isn’t that right? You’ve felt that way before, haven’t you?
3. M. Scott Peck begins his book The Road Less Traveled with a three word sentence that is packed with simple, yet profound truth…it reads, “Life is difficult.”
4. And he is so very right. Life is difficult.
5. Life is filled with burdens that must be borne.
C. God’s intention for the church is that we become a community where we bear one another’s burdens.
1. Look again with me at the verse we used as the Scripture reading, and let’s pick up the verses before and after it, to give us some context.
2. Paul wrote, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:1-5)
3. Let’s examine the command, and then work toward its application.
I. The Command.
A. In verse 1, Paul gave instructions concerning our responsibility to help other believers who are stuck in sin.
1. He says that we are to come alongside the sinning brother or sister and help restore them in a spirit of gentleness.
2. Then in verse 2, Paul commands that we bear one another’s burdens.
3. The fact that the command of verse 2 follows the command of verse 1, suggests that this is one form of burden bearing.
4. Helping another believer overcome the burden of a certain sinful behavior is one way to help someone bear their burden.
5. But Paul is not implying that this is the only way to carry each other’s burdens.
B. The “burdens” that we are to help others carry include any sort of difficulties that people face.
1. The word that is used here is a general word that literally means “a heavy weight.”
2. Something that was very heavy to carry was referred to as a burden.
3. That’s why certain animals were referred to as beasts of burden.
C. The word that is translated “bear” or “carry” is a word that in the original language meant “to carry or lift something.”
1. The most literal meaning of the words is “to pick something up and carry it away.”
2. As Paul employs it in a figurative sense, he means that we are to reach out to a brother or sister in their time of difficulty and help them in any way we are able.
3. Anything we can do to lessen the weight of the load they are carrying will be a great blessing to them.
D. The verb “carry” is in the imperative, which means that it is a command.
1. And as a command it is to be a continuous, ongoing action.