ODJ: walking close

February 24, 2015 

READ: Galatians 6:1-3 

Share each other’s burdens (v.2).

In 2014 a pod of pilot whales was found floundering in perilously shallow water off the shore of Florida, America. Forty or fifty short-finned whales remained close to a narrow shoreline—choosing not to swim out to the deeper waters, where they would be safe. Several of the blackfish were ill, which caused conservationists to worry. Pilot whales are intensely loyal creatures, and when one in their group is sick or in jeopardy, the rest of the pod simply will not leave. They form a circle and stay close together.

The Scriptures call God’s people to this kind of life, where we stick close to each other and find our life alongside others. We’re called to help meet one another’s needs, to tend to one another in our time of weakness and to protect one another during perilous stretches that we will inevitably endure. If any find themselves overwhelmed by temptation, we shouldn’t reject them, but “gently and humbly help them back onto the right path” (Galatians 6:1). If any find themselves in distress or grief, isolation or pain, we should “share [their] burdens” (v.2).

We may not know what to do or say. In fact, we may have no idea how to help. We can, however, simply walk close to our brothers and sisters. We can put our shoulder next to theirs and say, “I don’t know what to do. I have no answers here. But I can carry your burden alongside you.”

I find it instructive—and hopeful—that Paul didn’t say we’re to fix one another’s burdens. We’re simply to bear them. Their burdens are also our burdens, and—in time—our burdens will also be their own. Let’s choose to walk next to our hurting brothers and sisters in Jesus today. —Winn Collier

365-day plan› Deuteronomy 30:1-20

Read John 13:34-35 and consider what happens when we truly love and care for other believers in Jesus. 
Are there any people you believe God would have you walk beside, bearing their burdens? How can you begin to share your burdens more freely with others? 
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