Bear you one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
This world is full of burden-bearers. We cannot pass through it without taking a load. Nor can we help fulfilling the injunction of the text in some sense. We do, naturally and inevitably, bear one another's burdens. Life is such that every man must take some share of the life of those around. To be in relationships means this; to be in a family as head or member, to be in business, to be one of a social and civilized community, implies it. The text is needed, then, to make that Christian which is simply natural, to change hard necessity into holy duty. Christianity speaks to men who are all struggling and suffering together, and says not, "Throw off the burden, deny the mutual claim, restrain the hand of help," but, "What you must do, do willingly; what you might leave undone, do more willingly still."
I. SOME OF THE BURDENS WE MAY HELP OTHERS TO BEAR.
1. Poverty. Answers to objections —
(1) "Many of the poor are born so, and do not feel their privations as a burden, not knowing any other state." True, but we must think of what they may be raised to The poorest man is a man altogether, and capable of all a man can be in soul and circumstances.
(2) "There must be the different classes in society. Christ tells us we shall always have the poor with us." Yes, but Christ merely refers to a fact He does not commend it, or announce it as one of the laws of His Kingdom. The nature of His Kingdom is, in proportion as its principles prevail, to bring all evils to an end, and poverty undoubtedly tends to produce and perpetuate evil; e.g., it prevents the acquisition of knowledge, makes decency very difficult, quenches nobler strivings, makes life a drudgery. When very deep, it is twin-sister to famine, and behind them both are the darker forms of crime (Proverbs 30:8, 9).
2. Infirmity. Weak goodness needs encouragement. Many who fall often are struggling hard all the time. Be willing and ready to hold out a helping hand. Suffer the hasty word to pass in silence, without answering again. Check the ungenerous judgment in your heart. Watch for the best opportunity of suggesting a more excellent way.
3. Trouble. To "weep with them that weep" is a ministration of love far more intense than to "rejoice with them that do rejoice." A friendship of fellowship cemented by sorrow is often both more profitable and more lasting than the fellowship of health, and laughter, and mutual success. Christ's fellowship with men is enduring and valuable because it includes all imaginable sympathy. You must fill your own heart with the trouble you would lessen. This is "Christ in you," and is probably the presage of Christ in your suffering friend, with increase of soul-strength, and abundance of consolation.
II. MOTIVES OR INDUCEMENTS.
1. The frailty of human nature, and the uncertainties of human life.
2. It is the way to fulfil the law of Christ. And to fulfil that law is to fulfil all laws. More than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices, more than all ceremonial and observance, more than all philosophy, more than all morality, more than all religion besides. The keeping of it is the completeness of duty, the substance of goodness, the secret of happiness, and the best preparation for the ineffable glories and joys of heaven.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)Poverty is the load of some, and wealth is the load of others, perhaps the greater load of the two. It may weigh thee down to perdition. Bear the load of thy neighbour's poverty, and let him bear with thee the load of thy wealth. Thou lightenest thy load by lightening his.
(Bp. Chris. Wordsworth.)What is our whole religion but a burden-bearing? We have our own and also others' burdens to bear. We are all on a journey; if one is like to give way, the other must refresh him; if one is likely to fall, the other must help him up.
Parallel VersesKJV: Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.