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. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. (Galatians 6:1-5)
The book of Galatians is filled with powerful word pictures. Tucked away in the Greek language of Chapter 6 is one such unturned stone : “Carry each other’s burdens” (vs. 2) and “each one should carry their own load” (vs. 5). The image of “burden” in verse 2 is that of a large bolder. The image of “load” is a pebble. The call of encouragement is to help others shoulder their burdens while taking responsibility for our own pebble.
We need community to help carry our difficulties. We need people to “lift with their knees” and help us strain against that which is hard. It may be the loss of a loved one, the mountain of addiction, or the dooming diagnosis from a doctor. We NEED people to encourage us by helping to lift the boulders!
There is also the responsibility to carry our own pebble. We own our lives. We must understand the driving mandate to care for our own body, mind, and spirit.
Call to en-Couragement: Purchase two small stones. Write the name of the person you want to encourage on each stone. Give one stone to the person and keep one for yourself. Let the person know that for the next 30 days you will be praying for and caring about them.
Greetings from Shanghai!
Bernardine and I are so very overwhelmed to be here. We are “whelmed” in all the right ways. We have received wave upon wave of kindness from the people of China. We are well cared for, well honored, and well fed!
We are thankful to Shanghai Normal University for the privilege of speaking at their conference on career development for high school and college students. The lecture I delivered on Symbiosis and Student Development was well received. The thoughtfulness of this academic community is both humbling and hope-filled!
Conversations around life, faith, and how to honor traditions of the past while casting vision for the future are invigorating! It is obvious the people of China want to honor their 5,000 year legacy while competing in an ever-changing world.
This first part of our journey found us actively engaged with the people whom God has placed in our path. Soon, we will be heading to Nanjing—well known for the massacre of 1937. I read a telling book by Xu Zhigeng recounting the horrific tale of deep depravity turned evil.
As we travel, I ask for your prayers for rest, writing, and relationships! Please pray that I continue to find value in resting, creativity in writing, and enjoyment in ever deepening relationships.