Summary: G.U.T.S: Sacrifice- What kinds of burdens should we carry? (Series idea from Mike Mack in his book, Small Group Vital Signs, pgs. 103-111; Outline from Bob Russell and Rusty Russell's book, The Power of One Another, chapter 7, pgs. 97-108)
Objects: Alex’s barbells
Alex lifts barbells and here they are. Demonstrate how they work. Don’t have a weight bench
One day last week I went to the gym to work out. There were many other people down there working out too. Some of them were lifting weights. As I watched the weight lifters, I noticed that they always worked in pairs. One of them would lie down on the bench to lift the weights while the other would stand up near the lifter's head.
The person standing near the head is called a spotter. The spotter stands near the lifter's head just in case the lifter needs some help. Sometimes, the spotter didn't need to do anything at all. Just being there gave the lifter the confidence needed to lift the weights.
Other times, the spotter would call out words of encouragement to the lifter, saying, "You can do it! You can do it!" That encouragement was just what the lifter needed to lift the weights.
As more and more weight was added and the bar became really heavy, the lifter became very tired. When that happened, the spotter had to help the lifter by lifting the weight for him. Then, the two traded places and the spotter became the lifter and the lifter became the spotter.
I think that is a pretty good picture of what the Bible teaches us that we are to do for one another. The Bible tells us to "bear one another's burdens." Sometimes we may have a friend who is going through some difficult times and needs someone to help carry their burden. Maybe our friend is sick, sad, or lonely.
Many times, we don't even have to say anything or do anything. We just need to be there and let them know that we care. Just knowing that we are there may be all they need to give them the courage to carry on.
Other times, our friend may need some words of encouragement. They may need for us to say, "You can do it!" Those words of encouragement may be all they need.
Sometimes a person has a burden so heavy that they may need for us to lift that burden for them. Perhaps they have no money and need food or clothing. We can lift their burden by giving them what they need.
Do you remember what the weight lifters did? After one of them helped the other, then they traded places. The really beautiful part of what the Bible teaches about bearing one another's burdens is that sometimes we are the lifter and sometimes we are the spotter. We must be willing to give help to others as well as to receive it.
From Sermons4Kids at: http://www.sermons4kids.com/weightlifters.html
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Thesis: What kinds of burdens should we carry?
I. Financial burdens
““Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”” Proverbs 31:8, 9, NIV.
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” “There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” Acts 4:32, 34, 35.
The early church was supported by the sacrificial gifts of individual Christians. They gave of their own wealth to respond to the needs of other Christians. As we consider this we need to make some important observations:
These gifts were voluntary not mandatory. Not socialism or communism but communalism.
The early church’s giving was organized, not haphazard. They brought the money and the apostles distributed. Sometimes it is good for an individual to see and need and give, but we are wise to trust the church to meet ongoing benevolent needs. The church needs to make an effort to sort through the needs and see that they are distributed wisely. Often the most deserving people are too humble to ask for help, and the least deserving are great at marketing their “plight” and milking the system.
Money was given to those who had need, not just those who had less.
In the early church, the money was distributed to people “as they had need.” The Bible doesn’t teach equal distribution of wealth, but generosity to the needy. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17, NIV. Notice this doesn’t say, “If you see someone with an older car than yours, a smaller house or less meat,” but “if you see your brother in need.”