Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Lighter Load

I wonder how often I carry a load that is too heavy for me to bear. I also wonder how often someone around me carries a load that is too heavy for them to bear. I think I like the idea of a Christian community. It sounds like it's such a great idea - the way we share, we help and we bear each others burdens. I guess the real question is this: if it sounds so great, why isn't it happening? More to the point, why isn't it happening around me? I think it's because I like the idea of a Christian community. Once it gets past the concept, it gets a little rough around the edges. That's because, if we tell the truth, we're all a little rough around the edges. It takes work to smooth those rough edges out. Sometimes we'll put in the work to smooth them out and while we're working those edges cut us a little.
It's probably time to stop blaming society (my favorite nemesis) and stop looking around for excuses. If I'm carrying too much, whose fault is that? I'm carrying it, so it has to be mine. It doesn't have to be that way, but I choose that path over and over. If I would be honest and admit I need help, I know that I'm surrounded with people that would carry it with me. By the same token, I have to wonder why I'm not bearing anyone else's burdens. There are two explanations. The first is that I'm not making myself available to the people around me and the other is that the people around me don't see me as a burden bearer. This isn't intended to be a "woe is me" kind of post. This is more therapy. I need to put into words that I'm not being the man that God has called me to be.
God didn't send his Son to walk among us so that we could spend our lives isolated and insulated. I spend far too much time as a spirtual thermos. A thermos is great at what it does - it makes sure that whatever is on the inside doesn't affect and is unaffected by what is on the outside. Often I take what God has given me and keep it sealed up, preserved from everyone around me. Other times, I keep myself sealed away from what is around me. Jesus wasn't a thermos. Whatever was in came out. And time and again we see Jesus moved with a range of emotions be everything around him. He was compassionate, kind and forgiving. But at the same time he was uncompromising. He was continually filling himself with the words of His Father and turning around to pour them out all around him.
It's time to take the lid off. Will it make a mess? Probably. Will it be worth it? Definitely.