Burden Bearer

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”—Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

Have you ever tried lifting weights without a partner? You accomplish a lot less at the gym when you’re on your own than you do with a good spotter. Why? Because a spotter helps you lift more weight than you can on your own. In addition, having an experienced spotter enables you to safely try new and different types of lifts. This cooperation in exercise leads to muscle growth and increased strength.

Frequent gym-goers are usually willing to jump in and spot someone at a moment’s notice. When they see a lifter in need, they will drop what they’re doing and help carry the weight. They share the burden and divide the weight. That’s what we should do for those with whom we share a love for Christ. This is what generous relationships should look like for believers.

As Christ followers, we’re called to be spotters (Romans 15:1; 1 Corinthians 9:22). There should be no hesitation, no second thoughts or questioning. We shouldn’t have to check our schedules or “pray about it.” God wants us to help our brothers and sisters carry their burdens. In fact, the apostle Paul makes it emphatically clear in Galatians 6:2 that burden-sharing is the fulfillment of the law of Christ.

The word for law here in Galatians is nomon, which means a divine law; a force or influence driving or propelling one to action. But which law is Paul referring to? It’s found in John 13:34. It’s the new commandment He gave us, the distinguishing law of our Redeemer. You see, the law of Christ, the new command He gave to us, demands we love one another and carry one another’s burdens.

This is the duty we have to our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. It’s what we would expect our siblings, our spouse, our kids, or our parents to do for us. So consider what Jesus said in Matthew 12:48–50 (NIV): “He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’”

In the same way that Jesus understood that everyone who is His Father’s child is part of His family, we too must understand and embrace this. We must learn to apply Jesus’ words to our own life and see all those who love Jesus as our brothers and sisters and mothers . . . as our family.

And taking it even further, Jesus shows us in grand and unmistakable fashion what it looks like to bear one another’s burdens as He carried our cross and bore our sins upon it. Likewise, as we grow in Him and seek to reflect His generosity in our lives, there may not be a purer, more meaningful response than to carry one another’s burdens! To be your brother’s or sister’s spotter, to make their burden your burden, to make your strength their strength as you draw strength from Christ, this is the generous gospel in action.

There is nothing more charitable we can do in our relationships than carrying one another’s burdens. It shows that we value others above ourselves. It demonstrates investment, commitment, love, and compassion. It is proof of the love of Christ in us.

What does it look like to be a spotter for your brothers and sisters in Christ? How can you help shoulder their burdens? Ask them! This will show your deep level of care, intentionality, and devotion to Christ and His people.