Carry, But Don’t Be Crushed

This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “carry.”

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

As Christians we are called to support others and to walk with them. Sometimes it means carrying their burdens, and sometimes those burdens can be heavy.

Yesterday, there were two particularly difficult situations within our church family, and I also spent an hour mentoring someone else dealing with something heavy.

It was a privilege to come together with others to help carry those burdens and ease the pressure on those who were struggling, but I have also learned the importance of recognising our limits – of not taking on more than we can carry.

Just a few verses further on in Galatians, Paul writes a statement that seems at first glance to contradict what he says in verse 2: “Each one should carry their own load.” (Galatians 6:5 NIV)

In his book, “Being There,” Dave Furman provides a helpful explanation.

The word used for “load” in verse 5 refers to something like a travelling pack or backpack.  It represents our personal responsibilities before God – to work at our job, to raise children, to nurture our personal walk with God.  There are things no-one else can do for us that we have to do for ourselves.

The burdens referred to in verse 2 are different – the word refers to someone struggling under a crushing weight.  Maybe someone is dealing with bereavement or illness or complicated family situations that go above and beyond the normal day-to-day challenges. This is where we are called to help and to walk with people.

We also need to be careful, for our own well-being, not to take on too much. As Dave Furman says, we are called to carry one another’s burdens but not to be crushed by them. It is hard to get the balance sometimes and I have definitely taken on too much and allowed myself to be crushed at times. This is why community is important – so we can take turns in carrying the load.

This is far too big a topic to cover properly in a Five Minute Friday post, but I’ll finish with a quote from Dave Furman’s book, which I’d highly recommend:

“Remember that Christ was ultimately the only one who was crushed by our burdens.  And not just our burdens, but also our sin.  All of it was on him.  He was crushed for our iniquities.  He is close to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit.  He carries our sorrows and was pierced for our transgressions, and by his wounds we are healed.  Don’t try to be someone’s Saviour, because it will crush you and you will fail.  People don’t need you; they need Jesus.”

15 thoughts on “Carry, But Don’t Be Crushed

  1. Oh my Lesley! I have been feeling “crushed” lately. So much pain within my circle and I’ve been feeling weak-kneed by the load. Thank you for these timely words. God used them to speak to me in a most personal way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leslie, it was interesting to read the difference between load and burden. So very true – we are not meant to carry those burdens meant to be carried by Christ alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I tried to bear their burdens,
    take on their misery,
    but when my strength was curtains,
    they turned and came for me
    with torches lighting pitchfork steel
    and calls to take my head;
    I’d stopped heeding what they’d feel,
    tending mine own heart instead,
    and this did infuriate,
    for was I not their sole possession
    whose calling was to curate
    each and every whinging session?
    They backed me to the cliff that day,
    then parted as I walked away.

    Like

  4. I also have had seasons where I took on too much and was crushed under those burdens. I am a highly sensitive person which also makes me extremely empathetic and I can feel other’s pain. I have had to learn to say no and be mindful of what I can handle as well.

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  5. Our former pastor in SC taught that distinction between verses 2 and 5 of Galatians 6. It really does help shed light on when to help and when not to. And you’re so right that we have to be careful not to take on too much. So often we can’t do all we’d like to, but it’s good for us and others to be reminded of our limits.

    Sometimes it’s also a problem when we try to carry a load someone is supposed to carry for themselves–it’s hard to know when we’re helping and when we’re enabling them to avoid their load (thinking of situations like when someone is spending their money on drugs and alcohol to the point they can’t pay their bills). But God will guide us in each case.

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  6. “People don’t need you; they need Jesus.” That’s an insightful bottom line to keep in mind. As we steer people toward Christ–a quiet time with him, practicing his presence each day, keeping a gratitude journal, listening to Christian podcasts and music, etc.–HE will be able to minister to them in ways we never could.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I love how the quote is quite blunt but it really gets the message across! When you think about it, it’s obvious that they need Jesus rather than us, but I think it can be tempting to take on too much of the burden and feel like it’s all down to us,

      Liked by 1 person

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