Go To The Source

I have a friend, a good friend, who trusts no one.  She hasn’t always been this way, but she has grown callous over the years from people failing her. She has even turned away from fellowship with the Body of Christ because they have not met her needs or expectations. She is dear to me – I am concerned for her and I pray every day that she will see that there is only One who satisfies. As a wife, I know that I put a lot more faith in my husband at the beginning of our marriage than I should have; poor Lloyd had to wear a halo and a superhero suit almost every day. But one day he told me plainly that he was not interested in being my god or my hero — only my husband. We’ve been living in a joyful marriage ever since that realization came to us. Who are you depending on? Who do you expect to be there whenever you call (or text)? Who do you expect to be there when you cry? Who do you expect to defend you? Who do you expect to understand what you are feeling? When your friends disappoint you by not showing up; by not understanding; by not answering the phone; by saying just the opposite of what you need them to say — what is your reaction? We all spend a lot of our time disappointed in people because they don’t do what we need them to do; say what we need them to say; act like we need them to act. People just don’t meet our needs. In our frustrations, it is common to lash out at people – to cut them off from your ‘inner circle’; even to bad mouth them to others. Most of us do not kill people physically, but we do call people ‘dead to us’ because we have been failed by them. It is kind of funny when you think about it — we throw tantrums when others fail us as if we never fail anybody. Laughable! We all fail other people – every day! I don’t know where we all got it wrong, really. The Word of God is clear that He is our sufficiency; that everything that we need is in Him; that He will supply our needs; that He will not fail us. I don’t know where we all got the idea that other people – other fallen beings – other imperfect humans; would be able to satisfy our longings for anything. As for me, I will just go to the source – the The One who cannot fail; who will not forsake; who cannot lie. I will give myself no cause to desire what another person might have that I think I need, rather I will place my needs and desires before my God and King and await his answer and his provision. Before you decide that your friend/family member/co-worker is not worth it because of their failure; redirect yourself – consider going to The Source for your needs. He loves to meet the needs of His children – He is waiting for you to ask.

You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. (‭James‬ ‭4‬:‭2‬)

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Recently a good friend made a very touching public statement about how we, believers, should bear one another’s burdens as the law of Christ demands (Galatians 6:2). My friend was talking about our caring for one another is relates to physical, spiritual and emotional needs. He was saying that we should care enough about one another to know about a need, meet the need if possible, and walk with one another through to the solution (whether or not the need was met by us personally). In other words – taking another’s need as our own.

When read in context, the Galatians text is probably talking about us bearing with one another as we deal with the enticements and battles that we will face as Christians living in a fallen world. While the scriptural context my friend used was not perfect, the sentiment was right on target!

In James 2 we are asked this question, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? “

John 15:13 asserts, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

In Romans 12 we are admonished, “be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality”

In Philippians 2:4 are found these words, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

As I reflect on these scriptures, being the cynic that I am, I found myself thinking – do we really bear one another’s burdens? And I said NO – not unless it is a burden that:
1) We feel is worth bearing/something we deem as worthy to be called a burden
2) Will not cost us anything financially
3) Will not cause us to have to inconvenience our time/schedule

I know – I know – those of you who read this and know me well will say, “Jan, that’s just how you think!” But I want you to think about your life just over the last year.
• How many times did you make yourself available to a friend contemplating suicide? (I mean, did you even give them enough attention to know that were contemplating suicide);
• How many times did you give money that you earmarked for something else in order to ease another’s burden? (Not money from your savings, retirement, etc. – I mean sacrificially giving that ‘last 2 dollars’ so that someone could eat, sleep, be seen at the doctor, etc.);
• How many times did you commit to talk with some weekly about a problem/issue until it was resolved? (And did you keep the commitment?)
Maybe an easier question is:
• How many times did a person who calls you friend share a need, a serious need, with you and you chose to ignore it or better yet you chose to tell them ‘be warm and be filled’ without doing a thing tangible to help them or to make it better.

It’s not that we can’t do it – but will we do it? Will we allow our hearts to feel another’s pain and share in another’s joy in a real way? Or will we continue to say to one another be warm and be filled?

Love requires that we care! Next time you tell a friend – take a load off – mean it!!