Father, You made us to care for each other. Thank You for Paul’s words here reminding me how to relate to other believers.
Your Word tells me to help others to carry their burden but also to carry my own. I was confused until I looked at the original Greek and found that there are two different words used here, both translated as “burden.”
Where You say “Carry each other’s [burdens] and in this way fulfill the law of Christ,” that word is “baros.” Although it is translated four times to read “burden” a more complete definition is “heaviness, weight that would weigh you down, pressing on you, difficult requirements.”
But where You say “each one should carry their own [burden].” The word is “phortion” which simply means “something to be carried.”
So there is a difference here in the amount of weight and in the “burdensomeness” implied in the original meaning.
One way I think of it is that each person should be capable of carrying their own backpack – the weight of normal daily responsibilities.
But they would need help with a steamer trunk – an extraordinarily unusual additional amount of hardship that would come with an illness, or accident or trouble.
Father, show me how to help others who are in need. Let me go out of my way to see how to help them. And Father, I trust You will bring help to me when I am in need as well.
Help me also “not become weary in doing good” so that I also may “at the proper time reap a harvest if I do not give up.” Thank You for the way You inspire believers to care for each other.
It is so easy to get off track by comparing myself to others. It sets the stage for jealousy, or pride. But You say to help those believers who are overcome by sin. And not to do it pridefully, but humbly and gently, aware that the same mistake could happen to me if I’m not careful.
You knew that this world would be a challenging place, and that we would need each other. Thank You for bringing friends and loved ones around me when I need their help. Sometimes I don’t even realize I need it, till You bring someone who calls and cheers me up, or says something encouraging. Help me be the helper, and the helped. Amen