In the church today we are stumbling over the issue of stumbling. Sometimes we blame others for “stumbling” us even as we may be struggling with our own spiritual lives. We all know that even as Christians we still sin. Christians at best are people, and people at best are sinners. Even James 3:2 acknowledges the human condition – “we all stumble in many ways.”
Do we play the blame game? How then can we as a church abide by what the Lord would have us do, and not be like modern day Pharisees sitting upon lofty perches, acting as judge, prosecutor and jury all rolled in one, when we are just as much in the defendant’s seat? We are reminded in Matthew to be self-reflective as we are asked why we “see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt 7.3)
In Gal 6.2, the Apostle Paul also highlights the need for empathy as brethren in Christ – to bear one another’s burdens. Burdens are difficulties everyone has trouble dealing with. We can’t bear them alone. They are excessively heavy. We’ve got to help each other or else we may fall again and again. So we are called to help each other in overcoming them.
But as we help others, verse 5 adds we must bear our own load. Load refers to life’s routine obligations to family, community and each believer’s ministry calling. Everybody has to take care of his own life. And God requires faithfulness in meeting these responsibilities.
In the Parable of the Talents in Matt 25.14-30, at account-settling time, the faithful servants were commended and rewarded for their faithfulness.
As the Lord has given us talents, the “load” we bear is the responsibility He has placed upon us to use these talents for His glory. At the time of His judgement, each will receive his wages according to his labour. The Lord being a gracious and generous Master rewarded the faithful stewards with expanded authority, increased opportunity and a place of joy and favour, with endless fellowship with Christ Himself.
The guy who buried his talent was caught unprepared and indifferent; his unfaithfulness is exposed and his punishment frightfully severe – cast into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. He cannot be saved by the credit of others, nor can he claim lack of opportunity.
My take on this? Bearing one another’s burdens require prayer, fellowship, and accountability. And picking up and building up each other spiritually. When carrying my own load, I am reminded that when we meet, my Master is not going to ask me “why are you not like your neighbour? But why are you not you?”