Christian help...so what's you're weight?

No, no. We haven't changed subjects. Christian help is the discussion here, not Christian weight loss. So don't worry. You're in the right place.

But Christian help has everything to do with weight. I'll explain...

When I was young, I spent a lot of time at a Christian camp in California. We'll call it F.B.C. to hide it's identity. It was a special place for me.

F.B.C. had had the same camp director for many years, and the camp had done very well under his leading. But then...

(Dramatic music please!)

Ed came. Ed was young and full of great vision. He added energy and new life to F.B.C. That was just how Ed was.

I had a chance to not only go to several of his camps, but to work there with him as well for a few years. The experience changed the course of my life. But...enough about me...let's get back to Ed...

F.B.C went through many changes during that time. One of Ed's innovations was the addition of a backpacking camp. And I had a chance to go on a couple of them.

I loved camp. I loved backpacking camp even more!

We would hike through the high Sierras for several days legitimately "roughing it." No radios, televisions or electronics allowed! We were truly on our own sleeping under the stars, drinking from the lakes of the area (purified of course) and eating our fill of beef jerky and and Vienna sausage (I know, yummy!)

I made friends at backpacking camp with people I had known and worked with at other camps but hadn't taken the time to get to know well.

One of those was Jon. Jon and I had one very important thing in common. We both loved to hike.

"Who cares if we have a seventy pound pack on our back!" we could have cried. "We'll still be in the front leading the pack!"

And that presented a problem...

Jon and I would be cruising along, talking as if we had no care in the world. Until...

...we looked back to see tiny little dots slowly making their way up the mountain. The little dot were the rest of the people in our group.

So, we would stand there impatiently waiting and talking as they caught up. When they caught up...

...of Jon and I would go again. And, yes, the same thing would happen.

After this happened a few times, Ed got smart (and he was!) He put us in the back of the group to keep us from going too fast.

I don't know about Jon, but I wasn't impressed! Now we had to struggle along with the rest of the crowd. But that was o.k. We were there for each other.

As I thought about my backpacking camp days, it reminded me of Christian help, burdens and something Paul said in Galatians 6:1-2 and 5...

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ...For every man shall bear his own burden.

At first, you might think Paul is contradicting himself. In verse two he says we're to help with each other's burdens (or weights) then he says we should bear our own.

So which is it?

The answer is...

...both!

You're probably saying, "It can't be both!"

But it is. The key is that Paul uses two different words for "burden" here.

The Bible was not written in English. It was written in Greek, and there are several Greek words that mean "burden." Paul uses two of them here.

In verse two, he uses the word "baros." This type of burden is one that is so large, it can't be dealt with by one person.

If you need to move a refrigerator, you get help. That is a "baros" weight.

In life we sometimes encounter a "baros" burden...

Incurable sickness...

The death of someone close...

Financial difficulties...

These and many more are "baros" burdens, weights that take a group effort to lift. They require Christian help.

Paul says Christians are to help "(b)ear one another's burdens (baros.)"

We are to help each other lift those loads that are so large they can't be born by that person by himself.

The Christian community, in the form of the Church, exists to help one another. That's one reason why we gather together every Sunday. To help each other.

And Paul makes that clear in verse two. But...

What about verse five?

Paul uses a different Greek word for "burden" in this verse. Here the word is "fortion." A "fortion" burden is one that is easily moved.

No refrigerator here. This is a light load or burden. It referred to a soldiers pack...

Probably much like the ones we used at backpacking camp.

These "light" burdens are not unbearable. They should be carried by the individual with dignity through the course of his whole life. Such burdens include...

Providing for our families...

Keeping ourselves pure...

Loving and worshiping God...

These things and others must be done by the Christian through the course of his life. This is his Christian help responsibility.

And Paul's message is clear when he say that the Christian is to "bear his own burden."

We have obligations in life only we can fulfill. And we must! We are God's children if we've accepted Christ's offering of salvation. We should and must obey our master!

We must bear our "fortion" weights and burdens.

But let me return to my backpacking story for one last lesson...

On one trip, I remember some of the weaker people were having a hard time with their packs. They were too heavy for them to carry. So...

We all sat down and did something interesting. We took items out of their backpacks and gave them to other people who could carry them. We redistributed the load.

What was interesting was that Ed didn't take anyone's pack off and give it to another. That pack, that burden was still their's to bear.

And the items taken out were never personal items. They were always items shared by the whole group such as food, water purification systems and other odds and ends that belonged to everyone. Personal items, such as clothes and sleeping bags, remained with their owners.

And that's how Christian help should be...

We ought to help one another when they struggle with burdens too great. But personal obligations remain with the person to whom God has given them.

So does Christian help have anything to do with weight?

Christian help has much to do with it. As we've learned...

We must help each other with the "baros" burdens while still bearing our "fortion" burdens.

Hope this has been a (Christian) help to you.

God bless.


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