“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”(Galatians 6:10 NLT)
Office Worker Found Dead at His Desk After 5 Days!
“Bosses of a publishing firm are trying to understand why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting, dead, at his desk for 5 days before anyone realised. George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proof-reader at a New York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers. He must have quietly passed away on Monday, according to the post mortem results, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner wondered why he was working at the weekend. She approached him to ask if he was okay and discovered he had died.
His boss said: “George was always the first in each morning and the last to leave at night, he kept pretty much to himself, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time, and didn’t speak.”
The above was a fake news report that did the rounds of social media a few years ago, based on a report in a Newspaper. The story made quite an impact. People were outraged and saddened as they imagined the loneliness and isolation of that poor man. What a relief then, when it turned out to be a hoax.
The Following Story is Not a Hoax
A similar story, and one that sadly is not fake news, happens every day in our churches all over the world. There is a person who sits right beside you at church ~ perhaps every week, maybe someone you work alongside in a ministry team, or a woman who comes faithfully every week to the prayer meeting. It could be a man who has served as a elder for many years. They may seem fine outwardly, but beneath their smile and pleasant demeanour they are slowly ‘slipping away’, under the heavy burden they are trying to carry alone, while nobody notices.
Perhaps you are that person?
Paul wrote about the importance of caring for each other:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”(Galatians 6:2 ESV)
How do we bear someone’s burden? I like the way the NLT puts it, “Share each other’s burdens,” because it translates that word ’bear’ a little closer to the original meaning, which means, not to take on and carry the entire burden, but to help them to shoulder their burden ~ to share it.
Picture a woman, trudging home, staggering beneath the weight of a heavy bag of groceries. Just when she feels she can’t walk another step, a kind person comes alongside and lifts the other handle of the bag, taking half the weight, easing the burden. The helping person doesn’t take on the whole burden, but they share it, and the two walk together until the struggling one feels able to take the burden herself again.
Any of us can get alongside a fellow believer who is struggling under the weight a difficult trial or temptation, and help to shoulder the weight of their burden. And when we ourselves are struggling, we shouldn’t be too ashamed or proud to ask for help either.
A Culture of Caring
The church at Antioch had a culture of caring. So much so that when Barnabas (known himself for being an encourager) went to pay them a pastoral visit, he could clearly see that the grace of God was so evident among them, and his ‘heart was gladdened.’ The encourager was encouraged!
Sometimes we might think our ‘little bit’ will be just a drop in the ocean, and won’t be much help, so we tend to hold back and do nothing. But in Acts 11: 27-30 there’s an example of the church working together to ease the burdens of others. Having been told of a coming famine, the church at Antioch was moved to take action. They took up a collection from amongst themselves, each giving whatever they were able to, and they sent relief funds to Judaea to help the believers there. It wasn’t total provision for every need, but their generous giving out of what they had lightened the burden for those who suffering because of the impending famine.
Worldwide, we have had quite a shaking lately, haven’t we? It’s been a strange time, frightening or lonely for some, devastating for others.
Do we care enough to notice those around us who may just be struggling a little more than we are to shoulder the burden?
More importantly, are we willing to help?