the ministry of bearing
as a form of strengthening fellowship at my church, i attend a small group on sunday evenings. we just finished studying a book called Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community. it was written by a fellow named dietrich bonhoeffer. this guy lived a heavy life. he was a german preacher as hitler was coming into power. he warned others that hitler was misleading the church and country. after an inner struggle on the morality of killing, he eventually joined a secret group planning to assassinate hitler. he was killed by the nazis for being a part of this group, but not before leaving behind his writings.
much like his life, his writings are very heavy. i'll be honest, i don't like reading heavy stuff. so i have to find ways to lighten it up a bit. one section of the book stood out to me. in his chapter titled ministry, bonhoeffer writes a section called the ministry of bearing. it was fun for me to read, because everytime i read the word "bear" i thought of grizzly bears. i told my small group this and they got a chuckle too. but there was some good stuff in it besides the stupid pun i find funny.
he referenced galatians 6:2, in which the king james version says, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." a more modern translation that i like, called the message, says it this way,
"Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived." -gal 6:1-3what this is saying is, that as follower's of Christ, we should help bear the burdens of others, for that is what God did for us in bearing our sins.
we all have a lot to bear. i find comfort in knowing that i can turn over all my worries and frustrations to God. there's a song by jon foreman stuck in my head that pertains to this thought, "so why should i worry? why do i freak out? God knows what i need." we all struggle through life. God is always there for us, even when life doesn't make sense to us (proverbs 3:1-12). this helps me appreciate bearing the burdens of others, because i know God has done it for me. much like bonhoeffer said, "he who is bearing others knows that he himself is being borne, and only in this strength can he go on bearing."
i hope this didn't come off as preachy, but if it did, at least it came from a bear preacher. some other bear verses bonhoeffer mentions that you may want to check out include: isa. 53:4-5, eccles. 4:10, col. 3:13, and eph. 4:2.