Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 19 - October/November 2007 > Pastor's Piece - Bear One Another's Burdens

Pastor's Piece - Bear One Another's Burdens

by Dr Barry Wright

Bear One Another's Burdens

The Apostle Paul in writing to the churches in Galatia, now a part of modern day Turkey, was making it clear to them that brotherly love was to fulfil the law of Christ.

He says in Galatians 6: 2 to 'Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law...' The law of Christ was to love one another and this is reflected in the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The only formal 'commandment' our Lord gave His disciples while on earth was 'to love one another'. To the Romans, Paul wrote that love fulfils the law so that when we live out those laws, we truly love God and our fellowman.

We need to consider the golden rule that calls every follower of Christ to consider another's problems as if they were his own.

If this principle were applied to the area of personal relations, to the home, the church or community, we would find that many of the ills of this old sinful world would be solved.

We need to remember that it is the grace of Christ alone that makes it possible to apply this principle, no matter what the circumstances. We also need to remember that Jesus was considered to be the great burden bearer.

We have a lot to learn from nature. Job 12: 7 says: 'But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you.'

One of the best illustrations of this principle of sharing one another's burdens can be seen in the migrating geese that fly in V-formation as they move from one place to the other. If observed long enough it is noticed that at certain intervals the lead bird would drop off and fly at one end of the formation while another takes its place.

Researchers have found that geese fly in this particular configuration because it is much more efficient in the use of energy than flying spread out. They discovered that the flapping of the wings of the lead bird, followed by a similar action of the birds behind him, creates an uplift of air that gives an extra boost to those further back in the formation. It has been estimated that by flying in this particular pattern that these special birds expend up to sixty per cent less energy than they would if they did otherwise.

The point position is the most energy consuming because of wind resistance, so the geese rotate this position every few minutes The easiest flying is experienced by the rear sections of the formation. It has also been discovered that the stronger birds allow the young, the weak and the older ones to occupy these advantageous positions.

Paul, in his words to the Galatian churches is intimating that all Christians should 'uplift' each other with words of encouragement and with prayers for those less strong, whether their weakness is in the physical, mental, social, or spiritual realm. As mentioned earlier, the application of this principle would solve many of humanity's problems. Human solutions are not the answer. It is only God's grace working through us as individuals that can make the application of this principle succeed.

We need to remember the words of an unknown author who once remarked that 'I shall pass though this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.'

Regret is one of the saddest words in our language. How many have wished they could tell a loved one who has been taken from them how much they appreciated them, but it is forever too late.

Another author was to suggest that 'Our lives should be consecrated to the good and happiness of others…We should be…watching for opportunities to cheer others and lighten and relieve their sorrows and burdens by acts of tender kindness and little deeds of love. These thoughtful courtesies, commencing with our families and extending outside the family circle, help make up the sum of life's happiness' (White, 1944: 539, 540).

As Christians we need to observe and discover those around us who are less fortunate than ourselves and apply the words of the Apostle Paul to 'Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.'



White, E. G.(1944)  Testimonies for the Church Vol. 3. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association.

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