Being a Burden

Chapter Summary

How does God invite me to turn my burdens over to Him?

Dying is never easy, especially when we feel that we are a burden. When we become the one who is taken care of, we lose a sense of self and control. Chapter two invites us to learn to be dependent upon others, as we recognize our dependence upon God. Our ancestors in the faith show us that we can learn to let go of our need for control and rely on God and others to care for us.

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About This Study

Thoughts of death, and the many fears that come with it, are a common companion for those that serve our nation. This study addresses those fears: fear of dying, being a burden, dying alone, dying in pain, or fear of what comes after death. The Scriptures speak to each of these concerns, guiding us towards hope in the face of the enemy of fear.


Dying is never easy, especially when we feel that we are a burden to those who care for us. Often we maintain our sense of control by being caretakers. When we become the one who is to be taken care of, our roles are reversed and we lose a sense of who we are. Perhaps the next step in our spiritual journey is to let others take care of us. Perhaps it is now our turn to learn to be dependent upon others as we recognize our dependence upon God. As the following Scriptures point out, learning to let go of our need for control and relying on God and others is another spiritual task that our ancestors in the faith had to learn as well.


Readings from the Old Testament / Hebrew Scriptures

Moses accepts the wise counsel offered by his father-in-law, Jethro, about allowing others to participate in a decision-making process.

Jethro said, “You are not doing this right. You will wear yourself out and these people as well. This is too much for you to do alone. Now let me give you some good advice, and God will be with you.”
Exodus 18.17-19a

The psalm writers speak of depending on God who will bear the burden of all our troubles.

I wait patiently for God to save me;
I depend on him alone.
He alone protects and saves me;
he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated.

I depend on God alone;
I put my hope in him.
He alone protects and saves me;
he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated.
My salvation and honor depend on God;
he is my strong protector; he is my shelter.

Trust in God at all times, my people.
Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge.
Psalm 62.1,2,5-8

Praise the LORD,
who carries our burdens day after day;
he is the God who saves us.
Psalm 68.19

Be assured of God’s eternal presence.

I, the LORD, will be your eternal light;
The light of my glory will shine on you.
Your days of grief will come to an end.
I, the LORD, will be your eternal light,
More lasting than the sun and moon.
Isaiah 60.19b,20


Readings from the New Testament

Jesus invites you to turn your burdens over to him.

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”
Matthew 11.28-30

The apostle Paul encourages all believers to comfort and help one another.

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God. Just as we have a share in Christ’s many sufferings, so also through Christ we share in God’s great help. If we suffer, it is for your help and salvation; if we are helped, then you too are helped and given the strength to endure with patience the same sufferings that we also endure. So our hope in you is never shaken; we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you also share in the help we received.
2 Corinthians 1.3-7

I am not trying to relieve others by putting a burden on you; but since you have plenty at this time, it is only fair that you should help those who are in need. Then, when you are in need and they have plenty, they will help you. In this way both are treated equally.
2 Corinthians 8.13,14

Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.
Galatians 6.2

The apostle Paul acknowledges the love and care that he received from others during his time of need.

In my life in union with the Lord it is a great joy to me that after so long a time you once more had the chance of showing that you care for me. I don’t mean that you had stopped caring for me — you just had no chance to show it. And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

But it was very good of you to help me in my troubles.
Philippians 4.10-14

Be assured of God’s constant love.

Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5.7



Good and gracious God, forgive me of my prideful self-reliance, my self-deception in thinking that somehow I really did not need the help of others or you. Help me find the relief of being able to relax into the care of others. Bless me and teach me in this next step of my spiritual journey. Amen.

Thoughts for Reflection

<ol data-rte-list="default"> <li> <p class="">Can I allow my dependence upon others to remind me of my dependence upon God?</p> </li> <li> <p class="">Can I let go of my pride so I can let others know that their care for me is appreciated?</p> </li> <li> <p class="">Have I somehow thought that I should be an exception to everyone else who needs help from time to time?</p> </li> </ol>

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