Monday, June 14, 2010

Bearing the Burdens

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. Psalms 38:4

One of the first things we noticed in Palestine, and we could scarcely believe our eyes, was the enormous loads carried by the porter or atal. You can scarcely understand unless you have seen these burdens yourself.

We have several times seen a single porter carry an ordinary piano on his back for quite a distance. His piled up burden very often extends far beyond his head.

After the burden has been placed on the porter’s back, he cannot easily lay it down until he has reached his destination. When he becomes desperately weary and must have a little rest, he calls a wayfarer, and the latter just stoops down under the load for a few minutes, takes the weight of the burden from the weary porter, and gives him a short rest. This is what Gal. 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” means.

In the same chapter and the fifth verse we read, “for every man shall bear his own burden.” That sounds like a contradiction, but not so. In our Greek Testament in verse two we have the word baros, meaning the very heavy burdens like the porter carries; in verse five we have this word, phortion, the light burden that any person might carry in his hand.

The word of God is telling us that Christians must be ready to get under another’s heavy load and give him a little rest, he must not throw his own lawful burdens upon others, he must carry the light ones alone.

(Bowen, Barbara M., Strange Scriptures that Perplex the Western Mind, WM B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pgs 66-67)


  1. The kind words we offer, the smiles, the smallest of deeds like taking in a meal to someone--truly those are the ways we can lift the burdens that people carry.

    Some burdens are visible, some are not. But all are eased when we take a moment to help someone. Thanks for this image of sliding in to take some of the weight off the man with a heavy burden. It's a great reminder of our call from Christ to do just this.