My mother, Clara Claassen
When my elderly mother lived alone in an apartment she needed the help of family to get her groceries, do her finances (because of failing vision), take her to doctor’s appointments, and do the major housecleaning. Because of their proximity much of this needed help came from my brother, sister, and my mother’s granddaughter, Tracy. In a phone conversation Mom told me that she had said to Tracy, “You’re doing God’s work when you help me.”
Frequently people exclaim, “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.” The reality is that part of God’s call on our lives is to be a burden to others! It gives them the opportunity to carry out their calling from God to help us carry our burden.
None of us are superman or superwoman. There will always be a time, and most likely many times, when we need someone’s help. If we succeed at surviving life to a ripe old age the chances are even greater we’ll need help. Being a burden to each other is part of life.
Joni Eareckson Tada has been a quadriplegic for over 40 years. She has had to depend on caretakers and her husband Ken to survive, and thrive. She writes, “God designed my disability not to make me independent, but interdependent.”
Most of us would rather see ourselves as helping someone else rather than being helped, but the reality is that for every burden lifter there needs to be someone who has a burden and needs help lifting it. There’s no place in the Bible where it says we should be independent. Instead, the Bible calls for us to be, as Joni Eareckson Tada puts it, “interdependent.”
When we find we need help to carry our burden we should realize that the humble acceptance of help is a powerful way the Lord is refining us, for it takes more grace to accept help than give it. If we want to be less of a burden to someone, to make it a more beautiful burden, we can do so by being grateful, cheerful, and encouraging instead of grumbling, apologizing, or complaining that we’re in such a position.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)