The family “pack mule” is somehow indicative of being a mother. The children off-load their hats, jackets, sweaters, and toys with a hearty “Here Mom!”, and husbands hand off their keys, sunglasses, and wallets for you to mind. While maybe not officially in our job description, moms everywhere are given the task of carrying things.
Called to Carry
Sometimes we carry literal things like those just described, but the list doesn’t end there. We carry forgotten book-bags, paperwork, groceries, and the trash to the curb. We carry meals to a neighbor in need, babies on our hips, and mounds of laundry both dirty and clean. We carry dinner to the table, children to school, and our Bibles to church. Yes, we carry a lot of things!
Sometimes the things we carry are not placed in our hands, but rather in our hearts! Perhaps a burden for a wayward child or family member, sorrow over a lost loved one or a severed relationship, compassion for those in misfortune or illness, or a longing to fulfill a personal goal or ambition may make the list. The weight of what we carry, or feel deeply about, often extends beyond our own reality and involves those around us. It is then, in those moments when we are put to the task of “carrying” for others that we ourselves experience Christ!
Carrying Their Friend
There is a wonderful story found in Luke’s gospel that so beautifully illustrates that very thing. (Luke 5:17-39) One day while Jesus was teaching, some men (having heard that Jesus was a healer), brought one of their friends to Him who was unable to walk. The crowd was extraordinary that day preventing the men from reaching Jesus. Not willing to give up, the men went up on the roof of the building where Jesus was, and cut away a portion of the roof. They then lowered their friend down through the opening, placing him directly within Jesus’ gaze and reach. Needless to say, they had His attention! Subsequently, the man was healed and afterward went away carrying his own stretcher.
I have often wondered about some of the details this story does not make us aware of. How far had the men carried their friend, how long had he been unable to walk, where was his family, who usually cared for him, what had caused his paralysis, what did he do once he left that day? We can only speculate. But one thing we do know is this. On that day, he had to be carried and he had to be cared for!
The friends in this story were moved with compassion to meet the needs this man had. They were willing to invest their time and energy to see that the man received the care and attention he required. They carried the weight of their friend, and were so compelled and persistent in reaching Jesus that their lives were also affected! The scripture passage in Luke tells us that the man was healed because Jesus saw and recognized their faith, the faith of the man’s friends. It doesn’t mention that the man himself had faith. Care and healing came that day because the
man’s friends carried him!
Fulfilling God’s Call
Whether a mom or not, or an occasional carrier of “things”, you may be able to identify with the friends in this story. Perhaps it is you who carries the weight of providing care for someone who is unable to care for themselves. If so, then you are fulfilling God’s call. Each of us is called to carry, to be stretcher-bearers or care-givers for others. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” It is during those selfless acts of service and care when we best exemplify the nature and character of Christ, the very purpose for which He came. (Mark 10:42-45) We are to have compassionate, kind, and patient hearts; (Colossians 3:12) we are challenged to serve others (carry).
Former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter said this:
“There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those will need caregivers.”
Having been a caregiver myself, I know it is often not an easy task. It demands much of us and it is not easily done alone. It requires the kind of strength that only comes from recognizing it as our God-given purpose, our calling, our gift; and we must rely on Him to be our support and inspiration.
The great Spanish painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso said,
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
God clearly defines our purpose in John 13:34- 35 when He says, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.” Are you fulfilling your purpose? What are you doing with your gift? What are you giving to others? You were called to love, yes, called to carry!
We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word carry is defined as (1) able to support and move; and (2) support the weight of. It is in this second definition that we see the following list of synonyms: sustain, stand, prop up, bolster, buttress, underpin, “capable of carrying even the heaviest of loads”. Wow, that is what Christ does for us! He sustains us, He helps us to stand, He props us up, He bolsters our courage, and He underpins our strength! He carries us!
Oh dear beloved of God, when we accept our purpose with joy, we can accomplish it because He has enabled us!! Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” We can carry the stretcher no matter how far, we can climb to the roof-tops no matter how tall, we can hold up the weight of those who are weak no matter how heavy, and we can bring them to the One who knows their ultimate need and is able to make them whole!
Oh, that we would but answer the call, the call to carry! Amen!!
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