Tuesday, October 3rd
Devotional written by Pastor Connor Johnson, Middle School Pastor
CAN YOU CARRY OTHER’S BURDENS?
I could share more stories of fun moments that summer on the Oregon rivers. However, it was not always daisies and rainbows! Since we were responsible for people’s lives, we had to be incredibly prepared. Before ever getting on the water, we watched hours of training videos, learned how to load the rafts and equipment onto the trailers, and practiced backing up the trailer in an empty parking lot. All the preparation was central to the idea that we were not caring for ourselves but were caring for others, so their lives, literally, were in our hands. Preparation was not easy and often was not fun, but it was necessary.
Life change happens in relationship. Sometimes, that life change is within yourself or your own circumstances. Yesterday, we reflected on these situations and focused on the paralyzed man. Today, let us consider the unnamed men who carried their friend on a mat. Their friend is suffering, burdened by the difficulty in life, and somehow, these men have faith that a person they heard about named Jesus can heal. They go through the physical difficulty of bringing their friend on a mat to where Jesus is. To their surprise, they cannot even enter the room. However, their determination led them to bring their friend to the roof and drop him down in front of the great teacher. Incredible faith led to incredible sacrifice.
Life change happens in relationship, and there are others in your life that you will be the impetus for their life change! The Spirit of God is the one who convicts, guides, strengthens, and encourages, but God often uses His own children to bring about these changes. Caring for others in their time of need can sometimes be difficult or strenuous and can take massive sacrifice; this is the call on the disciples of Jesus. In pursuit of living and loving like Jesus, we should follow Christ’s example and give up our lives for God and others. Who in your life is burdened by the difficulties of life? How can you radically sacrifice your own needs, desires, and time, just like Jesus did (and the men in this story), for the sake of others?
Out on the river, when things went south, we had to rely on our preparation. If someone fell out of the raft, our preparation would remind us that the worst thing to do was jump in and swim after them. This may seem counter-intuitive to your desires, but you need to care for yourself before caring for others. The men in this story were noble to bring their friend to Jesus. But the beauty of the situation is that they were running to Jesus and getting close to Him no matter the cost. In your pursuit of caring for others, always remember to pursue Jesus first, and that will be the beginning of introducing others to the great healer.
Final Thought: Who do you know who is burdened by life’s difficulties? Reach out to them and consider what it would look like to bring them to Jesus and help carry their burdens.