"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2
"Each one should carry his own load." - Galatians 6:5
Today I want to pass along to you what someone shared with me because it was so good. In these verses above, Paul may seem to be saying almost contradictory things. However, in the first verse, the Greek word for "burden" refers to something so heavy that it might sink a ship - like a boulder. However, in the second verse, the Greek word for "load" describes something smaller like a backpack. Glenn McDonald says this:
What Paul appears to be saying is that every one of us has to carry his fair share. If we're on a hike together, you need to carry your own bottle of water and your own extra pair of socks. Life is not a series of entitlements. Each of us needs to work. Each of us needs to serve. Each of us needs to take responsibility for solving problems, facing challenges, and deciding to grow up. But every now and then, each of us may feel crushed by a burden so heavy we cannot possibly lift it by ourselves. It's not a backpack. It's a boulder. You may feel flattened by grief - by a loss that came so suddenly and so dramatically that you can hardly breathe, let alone think about tomorrow. You may feel crushed by disappointment. Or trapped by the dead weight of shame. Or pinned down by a rage you cannot control. Or immobilized by a sense of failure so great that you've wondered if you can ever go on. Those are the moments, says Paul, that we desperately need each other. Even a ship-sinking burden is no match for a few people who are fueled by compassion. In doing this, we "fulfill the law of Christ" - which is really a way of saying that every time we help each other carry what one person could never carry alone, we become the strong hands and shoulders of Jesus. So put on your backpack. Another day's hike lies before us. But also ask God for one other thing: the grace to become a boulder-lifter along the way.