I Am Your Burden-Bearer
Rev. Lily Lim | On 17, May 2018
Matthew 11:28-30 (RSV)
V28- Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
V29- Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
V30- For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We all have to carry burdens!
This is a world of burden-bearing.
What is a burden?
The dictionary defines a “burden” as:
• That which is carried
• A load
• That which is borne with difficulty
• An obligation
The biblical synonyms to the word “burden” are “sorrows and troubles.”
Job 5:7 – but a man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.
Job 14:1- “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
So, it is a universal fact that all humans have burdens to carry and we are all not spared of troubles and sorrows as long as we are born of a woman.
This morning I would like to introduce you to the only Person who could help you to bear your burdens – JESUS. My title this morning is, “I am Your Burden-Bearer.” But first, you need to know:
• What kind of burdens do people carry?
• What are the things we are NOT to do in relation to our burdens?
• What are we to do with life’s burdens?
• Come to Jesus – Our Burden-Bearer
(1) WHAT KIND OF BURDENS DO PEOPLE CARRY?
There are 10 kinds of burden people carry.
• BURDENS TO DO WITH THE HOME
There is the burden of providing for our families.
There is the burden of broken relationship with either of their children. When one is in tension with someone one cares, this burden can be extremely heavy to carry.
• BURDENS OF BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITIES
Iloilo City has become an emerging market for entrepreneurships. It is not easy to compete with the corporate world as private entrepreneurs. Due to the influx of information from the internet and the advancement of the world in technology, businessmen and marketplace Christians have to be innovative and forward thinking in order to be a step ahead of the rest. Old methods of doing business can no longer apply to this new emerging market and it is a burden owning and running a business with profits in mind.
• BURDENS IN CONNECTION WITH THE LORD’S WORK
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:28 – “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
We have Zone pastors who have to carry the burden of their zones; we have DJCL who have to carry the burden of their small groups; we have department heads who have the carry the burden of their departments like the Youth Church, the Music and the AVL. As a church we have to carry the burden in connection to our communities and to the world like our Cambodian Mission.
• BURDENS TO DO WITH OUR FRIENDS
In Psalms 55:12-14, David describes his enemy who taunts him; adversary who deals insolently with him and companion or his equal who betrays him. And this is one burden we all have to face sooner or later with our friends – the burden of conflicting loyalties.
• BURDENS TO DO WITH OUR PHYSICAL BODIES
As we grow older, our bodies don’t do exactly what we want them to do.
Illustration: Charles Swindoll writes, “Have you seen the poster ‘You’re Over the Hill When……’
Your friends wear black to your birthday party;
You abandon stylish shoes for something comfortable;
There’s more hair stuck in the drain than on your head;
You have too much skin for your face;
The law of gravity takes on new meaning.
• BURDENS TO DO WITH OUR TEMPERAMENTS
The temperaments here are your fears, worries, depression and even despair.
E.g. # 1 – At the end of his life, Sir Winston Churchill said, ‘When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened!’ Churchill was speaking about the BURDEN OF WORRIES that never materialize.
E.g. # 2 – As Corrie Ten Boom pointed out, ‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.’
E.g. # 3- In his book Affluenza, the psychologist Oliver James points out that ‘almost a quarter of Britain suffers serious emotional distress, such as depression and anxiety and another quarter are on the verge thereof. Put bluntly, half of us are in a bad way ….those earning over 50,000 pounds….were recently shown to be more prone to depression and anxiety than those earning less.’
Are you carrying the burden of fear, worry, depression and despair?
• BURDENS OF LOSS AND BEREAVEMENT
The prospect of living life alone after the death of a loved one, the burden of coping with the world all alone can be a very large one to bear. Loneliness and self-pity are two emotions a bereaved person has to fight constantly.
• BURDENS OF DISAPPOINTMENT
To be disappointed is to “be let down in one’s expectation and one’s hope.” Maybe in our midst today are people who have been let down by the justice of your country; or you have been let down by life itself; or you have been disappointed by your children or some even are feeling that God has let you down by not answering your prayer.
• BURDENS OF SINS AND GUILT
Many of us are bearing the burden of sin due to our fall into temptations. We fail God and we fail ourselves. And for a long time, we are carrying this burden of sin – not availing ourselves to the forgiveness of God nor even the forgiveness by ourselves. Sin, if not resolved will lead to self-condemnation which will produce guilt. Self-condemnation opens the door for Satan and his forces of evil to work on us with DOUBT AND GUILT. Guilt prevents us from actively seeking God’s power and wisdom. Doubt enslaves us to feeling of powerlessness and unworthiness. Doubt and guilt deny the power and authority of God in our lives. Doubt and guilt entice us to rely more on our feelings than the presence of God’s Spirit within us. Doubt and Guilt destroy potential.
• BURDENS OF DECISION MAKING
There is this burden of making choices in this world. Wondering what we will do with our lives; wondering when we do make a decision if it is the right one.
(2) WHAT ARE THE THINGS WE ARE NOT TO DO IN RELATION TO OUR BURDENS?
• DO NOT DOUBT GOD
Psalms 55:1- Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
Doubt easily assails us when troubles come and maybe God seems far away. But there is no relief in doubting God.
• DO NOT COMPLAIN
Psalms 55:2- Attend to me, and answer me; I am overcome by my trouble. I am distraught.
Verse 2 gives us an illustration of this; but there is no relief in complaining and self-pity.
• DO NOT DESPAIR
Psalms 55:4-5 – My heart is in anguish within me, the terror of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelm me.
It is easy to give up and let trials and disappointments overwhelm us but relief from our burdens is not found this way!
• DO NOT TRY TO ESCAPE
Psalms 55:6-7- And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yea I would wander afar, I would lodge in the wilderness….”
Question: Have you ever felt like that? But that is not the answer. You cannot escape – so there is no relief here.
(3) WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH LIFE’S BURDENS?
Psalms 55:22- Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
• ACCEPT THE BURDEN FROM THE LORD
The word “burden” here literally means “that which He has given you” or the word may simply mean “gift”.
Did you ever think of your burden as a trust from God?
To understand this is to take the first step in the TRANSFORMATION OF TROUBLE.
That trial, disappointment, loss – is that God’s doing?
Yes – He has permitted it; He has trusted you with it for some very wise and loving purpose.
Romans 8:28- We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.
It has not come because of “fate” or “bad luck”. It may come from the DEVIL but only WITH THE LORD’S FULL PERMISSION.
Therefore, accept it from His hands.
One reason God gives us burdens to bear is that they may bring us closer to Himself. “God will give ear, and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old…” (Psalms 55:19).
It is easy to forget God and become slack when things go smoothly, when there are no “changes”.
Psalms 119:67- Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep thy word.
Psalms 119:71- It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.
Question: Will you accept your burden from the hand of the Lord?
• CAST THE BURDEN UPON THE LORD
The word “cast” here means “fling” or “hurl”. It requires and denotes ACTION AND EFFORT.
E.g. Daniel was cast into prison (Daniel 6:7-16); Jonah was cast into the sea (Jonah 1:15); John was cast into the prison (Matthew 4:12); the Devil will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelations 20:10) and you and I are to cast our burdens upon the Lord (Psalms 55:22).
The Lord is our great burden-bearer, and His gracious word to sinner and to saint is Matthew 11:28-30. Here we say a further reason why He gives us these burdens: THAT IN OUR WEAKNESS WE MAY PROVE HIS STRENGTH AND THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF HIS GRACE.
He wants us to learn the great two-fold lesson that….
• WE CANNOT
• BUT HE CAN!
Question: Will you cast your burden upon the Lord? Will you let Him carry it for you? It is too heavy for you.
• LEAVE THE BURDEN WITH THE LORD
Once we have cast our burden upon Him, He assumes full responsibility for it and for us and He promises to sustain or uphold us. How wonderful this is – “He will sustain You”! But more – He will never let the righteous fall.” Never! No never.
Psalms 55:22- Cast your burden on the LORD [release it] and He will sustain and uphold you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail).
Fear not, I am with thee, O, be not dismayed!
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid:
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
(4) COME TO JESUS – OUR BURDEN-BEARER
Matthew 11:28(RSV)- Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
V29- Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
V30- For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Jesus is saying in our language- “Come to me all who are struggling with life in any way and those of you who have burdens you cannot carry alone, I will help you with your struggles.”
Verse 28-30 (Message)- ‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I will show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Life is not easy because we live in a world that is filled with sin. Sin makes life difficult for us because it has put into our world all those things that God would have kept from us because He knew these things would make life difficult.
But Jesus says He will help us; He will walk besides us, He will carry our load.
Jesus uses the illustration from his day about the YOKE. A yoke is something Jesus would have made in a carpenter’s shop. It is a wooden frame joining two animals (usually oxen) at the neck, enabling them to pull a plough or wagon together. The function of the yoke is to make the burden easier to carry. Normally a farmer would put the heavier part of the yoke on the stronger oxen and the lighter part on the ox that is not quite as strong.
Application: The yoke of Jesus is made after the same pattern- the heavy end is upon Jesus’ shoulder and the lighter one is upon ours. Our Father bears the most weight of our problems, our burdens, our cares, and all the struggles we have.
Jesus tells us this morning that we don’t have to live life alone. We don’t have to live life with all of our failures, frustrations and burdens. But we must bring them to Him. And then He will shoulder them WITH US. In fact, He will take most of the weight of our burdens upon Himself. He will carry our burdens and He will lighten our loads.
Jesus goes on further to say that He will not make our load heavy by adding other things in place of those he has taken away. Jesus carries our burdens and replaces them not with the strictness of the law of do this and don’t do that, but He replaces it with the security of love, with the gentleness of compassion, with the tenderness of forgiveness. And when our lives are filled with that- with love, compassion, forgiveness, then we will be free to look around us and reach out with Jesus’ love to those who are hurting, to those who need our help in carrying the burdens of life.
Hymn- “I heard the voice of Jesus say
Come unto me and rest
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon my breast
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary, and worn and sad
I found in him resting place
And he has made me glad.”
Jesus wants us to come, to place our burdens on him and then we will be free to live life, to enjoy life, to take risks for others and to share Jesus’ life with others so that they might experience the great good news in their lives.
Everyone in this room needs someone to share something with. And as people who have shared with Jesus, we can be willing to listen to the life stories of others; to share with them their brokenness; to walk besides them in their journey and share something of ourselves and share something of Christ with them to make their burdens lighter. We are called together as the body of Christ, not as isolated islands, but as a living working body which shares with each other the hurts, the heartaches and the problems of life.
Story: There is an old story which tells how a man came upon a little boy carrying a still smaller boy who was lame upon his back. “That’s a heavy burden for you to carry”, said the man, “That’s no burden,” came the reply. “Cos he’s my brother.”
Jesus takes our heavy burdens of brokenness from us and replaces them with the burden of caring (lighter yoke) for someone out of love and the amazing this is – a burden that is carried out of love will seem much lighter than one that is carried because of all the brokenness of this world. Jesus helps us carry our burdens so that we can be instrument of love to others, to help others carry their burdens, to share with others their life story as we have shared our live stories with Jesus.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Jesus has borne all our burdens on the cross. This morning, He is inviting all of you who have any of the ten burdens of this life to accept the burdens from Him; cast the burdens upon Him and leave them with the Lord. Then you – come to Jesus just as you are. He has shouldered the heavier part of your burden. The lighter part of the burden is for you to share your story of Christ’s help and love to others.
My testimony – Sometimes I find that by staying here and serving this church for 32 years can blur the original reason why I came to Iloilo as missionary in 1986. At the age of 16, I had to bear the burden of marital separation of my parents due to the bankruptcy of my father’s business. Then I had to shoulder the burden of studying in a junior college which was a big jump from high school and I couldn’t cope with the curriculum partly because most of my time was spent dating my boyfriend. Then I had to undergo the burden of break up with him in the final year of my Junior College which led to my failure to qualify for the State university of Spore. I bore the burden of failure as well as disappointment in life. With all those heavy burdens, someone in my Junior College invited me -a staunch Buddhist to know Christ and to accept Him as my personal savior. A year after I accepted Christ, another of my friend invited me to a Pentecostal church and there I was equipped, fed and finally filled by the power of the Holy Spirit during a Spiritual Emphasis week. The whole weight of sin, guilt, failure, shame and hopelessness lifted off from my shoulder and I was filled with power, passion and destiny. Suddenly that night the Holy Spirit birthed in me the desire to make a difference in the lives of others (to be an agent of change) and that is why I am here today, with that same story – I came to Iloilo to direct people to this burden-bearing Savior – Jesus. Christ took my heavy burden of brokenness and replaced them with the burden of caring for people in a small group in Singapore and later with the burden of being a shepherd or a pastor to a bigger group like the church of Etab today. Today, as I look back upon my life as a 36-year-old Christian, I dare to say that all those burdens that I had to bear, were all gifts from God as they taught me how to draw closer to God, how to call upon Him, how to be changed in my character and above all how to comfort others in my ministry as a pastor. Nothing was wasted. Not a single tear, pain, brokenness, sorrow was wasted as Jesus redeemed them for me to become an asset to counsel and comfort others so that I can learn like Christ to bear one another’s burden as a shepherd.
Today, if you are carrying any burdens, come to Jesus and you will hear him speak to your soul, ‘I am your Burden-Bearer.’