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December 5, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”—Romans 15:1 (NIV)
Back in August, I wrote a devotional titled The Spotter, which was based on Galatians 6:2. The heart behind that devo was that as believers, there should be no hesitation in bearing one another’s burdens; that we should always be ready to fulfill the divine law of Christ by helping our brothers and sisters in Christ carry the load of trials, suffering, illnesses, financial hardships, grief, loss, rejection, persecution, insecurity, instability, and everything in between.
In that devo, I recalled a story of a Good Samaritan gym-goer who jumped in to help spot me—hence the title. Today is, in many ways, a sequel to that devotional. Today, I want to contend that one of the essentials of generous relationships, particularly as it relates to our family of faith, involves bearing the burdens of those who are “weak” (adunatos) in the faith.
You may be asking yourself, Who is Paul referring to here? Who are the weak? Well, he’s referring to believers who are weak in faith and knowledge (Romans 14:1). He’s talking about those who are not yet fully established, who don’t know yet the things of God, who lack maturity of faith, and those who are still dealing with struggles, misconceptions, philosophies, ideologies, or habits from their life before Christ. He is inviting us to be good, patient, compassionate, sympathetic, helpful mentors and disciple-makers.
Think of it like Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi, like Doctor Strange and the Ancient One, like Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi, like the disciples and Jesus. As a more seasoned, mature, experienced believer who knows what it’s like to be the “weak” brother or sister, we can sympathize, help, teach, and empower those who are more inexperienced in the faith. We can help them grow and mature in the knowledge of God and the life of a disciple.
This is the duty we have to our “younger” brothers and sisters. This is generosity in action. It’s making true investments into the lives of others. That’s what we’re doing when we bear the burdens of those who are weak and assume the role of helper and mentor in their life. This shows them we value them above ourselves; it shows commitment, love, and compassion. It shows the love of Christ in us as it pours out of us in the same way He did with His disciples—which they in turn did for those whom they discipled.
DIG: Read Romans 14–15.
DISCOVER: Who has played the role of mentor in your life as it pertains to your walk with Christ? How did their investment and bearing of your burdens pay off? Have you begun playing this role in the lives of others?
DISPLAY: If you’re in need of a mentor, someone to help you bear your burdens, to help keep you accountable, help you grow as a believer, help you understand the truths of God and what it means to be a disciple, take the step and ask for help! Speak to a pastor, elder, or leader at your church. Join a small group or find a more mature believer at work or school. You will be glad you did. If you feel you are mature enough, then seek out people you can disciple and mentor. It’s not a suggestion from Jesus, but a command and a huge part of His example to us.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.