Hello and welcome to a new week of our Foundations Daily Podcast here at STC. My name is Liam, I’m part of the team here and it’s a real privilege to be able to share some reflections from the Bible as we consider together what God is saying to us this week.
By Wednesday, we’ll have come to end of our journey through the book of Galatians. A huge thank you to the team for their brilliant reflections so far. And so now we come to Chapter 6 and, as we see so often with Paul’s letters, he moves from the theological to the practical. Essentially here – as we round off this final chapter – Paul is trying to convey to the Galatians the realities of this new life that they have in Christ – this new life which is available to all , a life received through faith in Jesus and his Spirit living in them. Paul is illustrating to the Galatian church just what it would actually look like to live this new life Jesus has won for them? And what life should be like in this new community that God was building– his church?
Our passage today is Galatians 6: 1-5. We are going to focus on verse 2: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.
A beautiful verse for us to reflect on today and also one that is so deeply practical and relevant to us right now. Paul speaks here of bearing burdens. The word ‘burden’ here refers to a weight, a load that we, metaphorically speaking, carry around with us.
In verse 5 Paul points out that actually – each of us ‘should carry their own load.’ Each of us has a load to bear. Right now, we certainly would agree with that statement wouldn’t we? Lockdown life, whether we’re young, old, self employed, working from home, still going in to work, parenting small children, raising teenagers who aren’t in school, being a teenager yourself and not being in school – it brings with it its own unique challenges. Life is anything but straight forward right now.
All of us will each carry our own burdens; there’s much truth in that statement. Paul points out here that actually no one can do that for us….but we do so, as followers of Jesus, knowing that we live by faith. Trusting that God’s grace is sufficient to meet our needs every day as Paul writes in another of his letters. Knowing that God is with us. God lives in us. And that he carries our burdens with us. That the weaker we get, the heavier the burdens become, the more we can find ourselves pressing into him and discovering his grace.
And we do that because Jesus is the great burden bearer. God knows how to bear burdens. On the cross he bore ours, the full weight of our sin, for us, for all mankind, for all time. And his invitation to all who are weary and heavy laden is to come to him, to learn from Him, to walk with Him – whatever the new day brings.
But as we said earlier, Paul’s teaching here is so practical. This was a man who knew all too well that the course of life doesn’t always run smoothly. And that there are times when those burdens we carry become a little too heavy for us to bear – even though we believe and trust in Jesus.
Paul’s instructions to the Galatians were to ‘Carry each other’s burdens’ and in this way he writes – ‘you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ He’s speaking here of what Jesus commanded his disciples to do as he washed their feet that night before he died. A new command I give you…Love one another as I have loved you.
What does life in God’s new community look like? To Paul it looks like bearing one another’s burdens. It looks like being there for each other when things are really tough. Not because we don’t need help…we all need God’s grace! But because actually someone else we know – we can see they are struggling and we want to try and help. Even though we’ve got my own burdens to bear, we’re going to try if we can and help get alongside them and do what we can to support them. That’s sacrifice. That’s the love Jesus speaks of here.
Here’s the thing: at some point during this crisis, the reality is that we will probably all find ourselves at some point feeling like the load we are carrying – it’s too much to bear. We might be in that place right now. We’ll all be in that place at some point at least once in our lives. Probably more than that! That’s where we need our community to step up, the people around us to come alongside us and to help carry that load with us. At STC we have these beautiful things called clusters and cells. And this passage is a great reminder that we each have a part to play in those communities by encouraging others to keep going today.
What might that look like? It might look like doing someone’s shopping for them. Dropping someone round a care package because their children have had chicken pox or they’ve had a rough few days at work. It might look like a phone call or a Zoom chat just to catch up with someone we know who’s feeling really low at the moment.
As we finish – a couple of questions to consider. What are some of the burdens we are carrying around with us today that we need to bring to Jesus? And perhaps who is God encouraging us to get alongside as we walk with Him this week?
Jesus thank you for the gift of your amazing grace this day. Thank you that you have born on the cross our burdens so that we can be free. Help us to live out the freedom that your love brings and encourage others by getting alongside them today. Amen.
BIBLE READING: Galatians 6:1-5
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. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.