I remember when my daughter was small and we had the wonderful "car carrier." The beauty of taking basically a portable cradle from the car to wherever we were going and then back to the car again, often without waking my daughter, cannot be undersold. Frankly it would be great to have an adult size one for someone to carry me around in - it would have to be several "someone's" but it would be fantastic all the same.

At a certain point, kids get too heavy to be carried and in our culture we start spreading that "carry your own weight" mentality across the board.

Walk by yourself.

Tie your own shoes.

Brush your own teeth.

Get your own job & your own money.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with teaching our kids responsibility and self-sufficiency, but I wonder if we teach it naively pretending that it's all they'll ever need. I say that because I know I've naively believed that I'm all I'll ever need.

The danger of over-teaching self-sufficiency and independence is that it builds an insurmountable emotional wall between a person and God. We were made, as John Wyatt says, by God to be "dependent." If all of our lives we're taught how we don't need anyone, why should we be surprised when we reject our inescapable need for God and replace it with something else?

I've been reading John Stott's fabulous book The Radical Disciple and I think he sums this idea up well in saying that we shouldn't avoid being a "burden" to each other.

We are all designed to be a burden to others. You are designed to be a burden to me and I am designed to be a burden to you. And the life of the family, including the life of the local church family, should be one of "mutual burdensomeness." "Carry each other's burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2) (p. 110)

I'm not saying you attach yourself to someone and drain them completely, though that happens from time to time, but in a healthy interaction of sharing each other's burdens we should be (as Stott says) mutually sharing these burdens.

To do so is to rewire our individualistic hearts so that they are ready to receive the law of Christ (cp.  Matt. 22:37-40) with open hearts and ready hands.

Who are you a burden to and who is a burden to you? Are you seeking God's grace to learn to carry them better?

1 Comment