Thanksgiving Devotion Nov 17
Written by: Jeff Aldis
Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30 & Galatians 6:2 & 2 Timothy 1:3
What a year 2020 has been! To think back to how our world was different 12 months ago makes it seem like years ago, not just one year ago. I have heard so much talk about the suffering in the world today being unprecedented or out of the ordinary. 2020 has been different. Obviously, a global pandemic is not a regular occurrence, but the idea that what we are all dealing with today is extraordinarily difficult is not accurate.
Life is hard. Christ promised a difficult time for those that choose to follow Him, but life is also hard for those who are not following Jesus. That realization, that we all have burdens and struggles, is in a way reassuring. It means we should all be in this struggle together.
One of the things that First Methodist does well is reaching out to those in need, whether those people are in our local community or across the globe. The words from Matthew, Galatians and 2 Timothy remind us of our responsibility as Christ followers to bear one another’s burdens. The word bear (βαστάζω) in the Greek means to pick up and carry. It means to endure something unpleasant whether on one’s own behalf or on behalf of someone else. Jesus bore our burdens on himself, and as a result, we are able to bear one another’s burdens. It is not just a duty. It is an honor. As Paul extorted the church in Galatia, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
I am so thankful to have been a part of Christ’s work through First Methodist. The amount of joy I have received from building houses in rural Honduras, providing Christmas dinner and gifts to NIA families and helping shelter refugee families from natural disaster, I am sure has surpassed the joy of those whose burdens, I pray, were slightly lifted.
My burdens have been lessened so many times and in so many ways by my loving church family. Christian community is a big deal. It is important for our happiness and growth. It is not an optional part of the Christian life. When we are in close relationships with other believers, we have people to pray for us, support us, encourage us, exhort us and serve alongside us.
This day and season I hope you remember and thank God for those who are a part of your Christian community. I also hope that you remember and thank God that His hope for us is that we are in community with the whole world. If you do not feel a part of a community, please reach out to a pastor or church friend and try to get involved. Community is God’s desire for us.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for providing the example of how to carry each other’s burdens. Thank you for putting folks in our lives to join in doing your work. Help open our eyes to the burdens and struggles of those around us and give us the wisdom and strength to take on and relieve those situations. We pray that other’s burdens will be lifted and placed on us, and through your power and the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can withstand all struggles and witness to your love and grace. Amen