"Life is largely a matter of luggage," declares Dr. Boreham, the well-known author whose deeply spiritual books have inspired millions. Continuing, he says, "Christ came not to remove life's luggage, but to multiply our burdens." And with this every disciple of Christ will agree.
How true this is! Watch us as we prepare new converts for membership in the church. True, we remove many things from them, but the things they lose are removed largely as a matter of conditioning them for service. Indeed, their growth in grace and spiritual development is largely determined by their desire and ability to share the burden of carrying the message to others. If we would have strong spiritual churches, we must see that our converts are trained as light bearers. "Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary." The Desire of Ages, p. 195. Only a witnessing church will be a growing church. Welfare Ministry, the latest compilation from the inspired counsels of God to this people, comes to us at an opportune time. Its pages vibrate with the sheer joy of service, and we trust that every worker in God's cause will permit the message of this volume to inspire his life and ministry.
How rich our lives become as we share the burdens of others! Yes, burden bearing is the law of life. No sooner had we begun to toddle than we began to carry loads big loads, much too big for us betimes. But we were never happier than when tugging at tables, pushing chairs, or carrying the cat. Loads were our very life. But in those childhood days it was largely our own loads we were carrying, and we were determined to demonstrate both our ability and our independence. Often we resented it when someone came to help us. We grew by this business of lugging luggage. Loads were in deed our life and as essential as our lunch.
But the greatest joy of life is found in bearing loads for others. In fact, our economic life is bound up with burdens, and it seems that nothing gives greater joy to a tradesman than the opportunity to do an extra service for someone, even though it costs both time and money.
The telephone just rang. I lifted the receiver and was greeted by a pleasant voice. A gentleman was asking me to do something for him and then he added, "But I don't want to put any burden on you." How strange! Why, that is just what I want. We all do.
When God called us into the ministry it was into a life of burden bearing, and no man has a place in this ministry unless his supreme desire is to bear the loads of others. How often it is that the heaviest loads under which we stagger are really the lug gage of others, and often of others who least appreciate our service! When Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," it was that He might lay upon us His load. "Take my yoke upon you," He says. It is by giving burdens to our shoulders that He gives rest to our hearts. Heavy luggage is Christ's cure for weary souls.
The essential difference between civilization and savagery is this, that we have in a measure, at least, learned to bear one an other's burdens. Consequently we have hospitals, welfare institutions, and all kinds of other avenues of service. In primitive lands untouched by Christian thought, desire to share the load of others simply does not exist. The survival of the fittest is the law of the jungle. "But it shall not be so among you," said Jesus. "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant." A revolutionary philosophy indeed! And one that is hard even for us as Adventist ministers to learn.
Are we not all prone to covet power? To human nature nothing is so delicious as to direct the lives of others. But in the ministry our work is not so much direction as it is counsel and courageous burden bearing. To be called to pastor a large church, to manage an institution, to preside over a conference, is evidence of our success, but the price of added responsibility is always added burdens, and how heavy these bur dens become can be known to those only who carry the load.
But though we may groan beneath the load today, let us not complain. All too quickly the years have flown, and we pass our load to others. Part of the pathos of this mortal life is that we do not usually waken to the value of our load until the burden is removed. Remember that the yoke that galls our shoulders today is God's legacy of love. When we are forced by loss of health to lay aside our load, it is then that we come to understand the depth of inward joy that our very burdens provide.
Some who read these lines have reached life's sunset, but your sky will glow with light and glory as you continue to bear the loads of others. Retirement rarely brings relief; and those who get the greatest joy out of the years when burdens of necessity are made lighter are those who continue, though in a smaller circle, perhaps, to bear the burdens of others. Perchance you are in the early morning of your service. Then, young worker, seek not to escape the loads of life. Long hours and tireless energy are the steps to success and joy in the service of the Lord.
Were the great apostle writing to the leadership and counsel of God's church today, he would say as he did in an earlier day, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." And yet, a burden ceases to be a burden when we see it in its true perspective. Like wings to a bird, like sails to a ship, is the burden of God's work to the one who has really found the joy of Jesus. He left heaven to bear the burden of a lost race, and as the Father sent Him forth, so He sends us forth to our tasks.
"That is a heavy burden you are carrying," said one in a sympathetic tone to a little girl who was staggering up the hill with a load far beyond her years. But she replied, "He's no burden he's my bruvver."